While many of us are content to continue to do things “the way it has always been done” there are some among us who love to challenge convention. These people are the inventors and innovators who make life interesting. Peter Tucker, a grower from Renmark, is such a person. Peter makes augers in addition to running a vineyard, a task that requires precision and diligence. He has been addressing some problems that many find infuriating.
One of these problems is ingress of Fuller’s Rose Weevil into Waterbird sprinklers. The weevils lodge in the top and prevent the sprinkler spinner from turning. Peter has found a cheap way to combat this, by inserting a length of tube into the top and cutting it off flush; thus preventing the insects from lodging in the top of the sprinkler and preventing it from working. On the downside, the manufacturers of the sprinklers claim that it is uneconomic for the sprinkler die to change unless there are at least 10,000 units to justify the effort.
Another change Peter has made to common practice is his method of summer trimming. Conventional practice is to cut at a sharp angle, which results in short canes on the lower cordon, and longer canes on the top. This gives rise to differential ripening, or ‘sweet and sour’ characters in the wine; which is bad for quality. The ‘Tucker trim’ involves trimming very lightly at the end of the canes on a much more vertical plane, giving more even cane length on top and bottom cordons. When combined with careful irrigation management to control vigour, this leaves approximately 30% of fruit exposed to view.
Does anyone else have a new or novel idea that improves the way they grow wine grapes? Send your story in to Riverland Wine.