Vines need a great deal of care in the first few years. The chamber of Agriculture have some very fine staff to help with all aspects of viticulture. Soil testing, vine cultivar/root stock selection and fertilisation options have all been sourced from the department.
As newbies Geoff & Marion followed directions carefully but the real hero in this is a fellow called Daren Miller who became a friend in need and soon joined as a close work colleague at Maine Gazin.
The year of planting was a hot dry summer and although the vines received good watering when planted there was no capability to water 36,000 vines after that.
It was a nervous first year and then in May of 2017 a frost took a few thousand vines out. These were replaced. The vines need to have a good start because in Bordeaux it is not permitted to water or irrigate after the first year.
Later in 2017 it was time to install the trellising to train the vines.
Nearly 6,000 steel pickets and many kilometres of wire were required. After 1,000 pickets at 2.2m high were hammered in and a broken ankle (Geoff), Geoff & Daren engaged a team of contractors to complete the job.
Pruning and attaching the vines to the wires are skilled tasks that are so important in developing the vines for the future. 2017 and 2018 were intensive years in the vineyard because of amount of manual work.