We’re taking advantage of some hot, dry weather before the harvest to rectify a problem underfoot in a parcel of young merlot vines, planted on gravel and clay soils. When we planted them a few years ago, I didn’t realise that a slight incline from right to left would result in deep troughs being carved out by rain water running down the slope, cutting away at the same channel each time it rained. These channels have made it dangerous to drive down the rows with a tractor. So we asked a friend with a ‘minipelle’ to help us sort it out. With Daniel beavering away in the vineyard, I wasn’t going to hire a digger and make a complete hash of it. And it’s very hot.
Grass down the middle of the rows can help, and it provides good competition for the vines, so we’ll have to sort that out in the autumn once all the alleys have been straightened out.