Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hay in the pond - Makes a change from grapes on the vine!

This winemaking is such a serious business, that I had to share this very different experience with you.

The consequences!
Our vineyard is about 32 hectares in size, but we only have around 22 hectares in vines. We also have about 10 hectares that we graze cattle on. This time of the year we close off a couple of paddocks to cut enough hay for me to get the cows through winter. Usually we cut the hay on one of our low lying blocks, but this year we decided to cut it on one of the sloping paddocks. That was no big deal if we had also stuck to cutting and storing the hay in the traditional small square bales. However, I decided to be efficient and to store the hay this year in the big round bales. Now, any intelligent person would have seen the consequences of this combination, but not me!

Chris to the rescue!
Round bales on a slope do only one thing. They roll downhill, and fast. So I have had to drag them out of drains, ditches, holes, but worst of all, out of our ponds!!

When it came time to call for volunteers to swin out and retrieve the floating one in the big pond, candidates were few and far between!! In the end, Chris jumped in and pushed it to the side where, after 3 broken ropes, we finally managed to drag it out with the vineyard tractor. Remember these big bales are 10 times the size of a traditional one, so are pretty heavy, even before they get water-logged!

On dry land at last!
All great entertainment on a Friday night for sure!!

Monday it was back to vineyard work - somehow not that exciting by comparison! That said, we are having a wonderful year with the grapes. A warm and dry Spring followed by a hot, dry Summer. Just a few more weeks of this and we should have a stunning harvest in terms of both quality and quantity.