Members on the Grapevine

Members on the Grapevine

On a sunny but chilly morning, recently, hardy members of the Garden Club plus a few guests gathered at the Grand Pre Winery for a hands-on workshop of pruning vines and sampling the products that are created from the fruit of those vines. Thanks to Sandy Dumaresq, we have this photo story.

Huddling against a cold wind, members compare notes on gloves and secateurs before approaching the rows of grapevines stretched out on the hill rising behind the parking area.

Employee Irma Russell was the knowledgeable guide who explained the techniques of pruning and led the group around the property. Here, she is explaining how cuttings are being rooted indoors for eventual planting on a newly purchased 9-acre property adjacent to the established vineyards.
The group was instructed in the art of pruning and was able to practise cutting back a selected number of vines under Irma’s watchful eye. Unfortunately, Sandy’s camera was attacked by a gremlin at that point and we are thus unable to reproduce those photos. In essence, what was done was to eliminate all but the healthiest branch from the main stem growing up and along wire supports of the “fence”. That branch was then trimmed of auxiliary branches, and was twisted around and tied to the bottom wire. Sandy noted that the crunching of the vine as it was twisted around the wire caused great consternation among the members but it was apparently only the outer dry layer of the vine that was breaking.

After completing work on about half of one row, the members ceded the territory to the wind, and retreated to the arbour that serves as an outdoor eating area in warmer weather. Irma explained the way in which the grape vines were trained to grow up and over the wooden pergola. An interesting architectural feature of the arbour is that the upright posts are slim posts of granite.

After visiting a greenhouse, the group assembled in the traditional wine-tasting room to sample red and white wines and eat a picnic lunch. All agreed that it had been a very enjoyable experience, and many returned to Chester carrying one or two bottles of the wines that they favoured.

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