Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Sprayer

If you happen to have watched “Wine:The Firm” on BBC4 last month, you might have noticed a brief reference to my new vineyard sprayer. I’ve actually been using it for almost a year, but since I haven’t written about it before I thought I’d take this opportunity.

If I had a marketing department I’m sure they’d tell me that writing about spraying vines is bad PR, but it is a sad fact that grapevines are very sensitive to fungal diseases and need protected in any climate, not least Burgundy’s. Anyway, this isn’t the point of this post, but I should recall that I am certified organic and as such never spray with synthesised chemicals – this year I am using powdered milk and flax seed oil!

So now on to the point of my post. The traditional Burgundian sprayer is a 6-row tractor mounted mist generator, which I used until 2007 (as shown below).

It has the advantage of being fast and relatively simple, but the disadvantages of relatively poor spray penetration and of being mounted on a 2.5 tonne tractor. Many of the top domaines in Burgundy are recognising that minimising soil compaction is one of the keys to wine quality and so I wanted to do better.

Hence the switch to this:

It weights 99kg and contains a large turbine that blasts air and spray out of the 8 nozzles located at the front. As result the spray coverage is irreproachable and soil compaction almost negligible. It does have the disadvantage that now I have to walk rather than ride, but I won’t be going back to the old system any time soon (not least because I’ve just sold it!).