With harvest well and truly behind us and pruning yet to begin, it’s generally a pretty quiet time in the vineyards.
While the vines get their beauty sleep, however, the team are busy with lots of planning for the year ahead and reflecting back on what could have been done better in the previous season.
At this time of year, one of the more enjoyable jobs is to arrange for flocks of sheep to be lent to us to graze the vineyards – the sight and sound of these lovely animals brings a welcome change to the landscape (and their mischievous behaviour is always entertaining to observe!).
Grazing sheep in vineyards is nothing new. Weeds, flowers and grass that grow between and under the vines can compete with vine growth so moving sheep in means you can keep the vegetation nice and short, and aim to kerb the competition problem naturally (not forgetting that we also get a great source of natural fertilizer from our furry friends).
We are able to graze sheep at this time of year because the vines are dormant and there’s no fruit or young buds for them to feast on. The results are a well-fed flock for the shepherd and a clean and tidy vineyard for us. Win-win!