Caring for the Vines

Radlow Hundred Vineyard

As a family business with generations of farming behind us, we’re really passionate about sharing our love for the land and giving our Radlow Hundred followers a sneak peek behind the scenes of how we make our small-batch, still English wine at our vineyard in Herefordshire. 

One of the key elements we’re working on at the moment in the vineyard as the vines start to emerge from their winter dormancy is to tie down our vines. This is really important for a few reasons. Firstly they need some support, even with older vines, sometimes to help keep shoots off the ground. Tying of the vines also helps more of the vine to have proper contact with the elements, encouraging a better yield of the fruit and shapes the architecture of the vines to an optimum position. 

Timing when to tie down the vines is really critical to ensure you don’t cause any damage or potential yield loss. If there’s a risk of frost in the spring, then it’s often better to wait and delay trying the vines to protect the buds. Typically tying of the vines will also take place after the winter pruning work has been completed in the vineyard, tidying the vines. You don’t want to tie the vines too early, otherwise they can still be quite brittle from the colder weather and you risk snapping valuable canes. 

It’s a painstaking process that can’t be rushed. There are choices to be made between tying the vines by hand or using machines, which largely comes down to the size of the vineyard, and budget. In a smaller vineyard like Radlow Hundred, we can approach the vines by hand for optimal results using paper-coated twist ties. Skilled workers can impressively tie down around 800 vines a day! 

Quite simply, the ties attach the vines to trellising to help support their growth. There are several techniques for tying that are used by vineyards globally, but generally the vines will be tied to either a vertical or horizontal trellis. A vertical trellis uses two wires, with the purpose of the lower one allowing for air circulation under the wines. A horizontal trellis is made-up of three wires, with the first wire used mainly for trunk support and attached to the post. Either system provides the framework for tying the vines. 

Caring and tending for a vineyard is a labour of love, and we will continue to share with you insights into this process, from planting to pouring. Stay up to date with our latest news via @RadlowHundred Instagram channel and we’re excited to see what this year’s growing season has in store for our precious Rondo and Solaris grapes.