During the Christmas break and summer holidays I worked for Vinewise. They are a vineyard management company who focus on using organic and bio-dynamic techniques. I was put with a group of regular employees who have a lot of experience as well as some other summer workers who were short-term and inexperienced like me. Unlike me, most of the short term workers had no interest in vineyards other than their weekly pay check, so I took advantage of the regulars time and asked lots of questions. I really learnt a lot. My supervisor was great and went out of his way to give me different tasks so I could gain experience, which also kept it interesting. I also found it interesting going to lot of different vineyards, everyone does things slightly differently.
Over the few months I had with Vinewise I have had experience:
Straightening, tucking and clipping vines
Checking for powdery mildew
Taking leaf samples
Helping to make bio-dynamic preparations
Considering it was supposed to be summer, the weather has been terrible! There were lots of cold, windy, rainy days. Not great for growing grapes. Quite a few of the vineyards I worked at ended up with wind damage and powdery mildew. I have heard several people say this has been the worst summer in Central Otago for many years. Helicopters were a common sight around Cromwell, desperately trying to dry the cherries. Hopefully this means we will end up with a late summer.
I didn’t get up to much gardening at home over the holidays but that didn’t stop our apricot tree from coming out in full force! We have so many we don’t know what to do with them all. The only other interesting bits in the garden are the tomatoes and lettuces I got from the Polytech plant sale, they have done really well. The strawberry plant was a total failure (not from Polytech sale), only one strawberry! Not sure what went wrong there…good thing I’m heading back to class…