Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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planting, a vineyard ostensibly constitutes that vineyard’s birth, but this viticultural operation can be undertaken only after a wide range of decisions have been taken. The potentially long process of vineyard site selection is followed by soil preparation and the choice of clones of both vine variety and rootstock. Decisions must also be made about vine density. Following delivery from the nursery, the young plants must be prevented from drying out before they are finally planted.

The planting operation is normally carried out in winter or spring. It consists of simply digging a small hole sufficient to take the normal dormant rootling, or occasionally a cutting or, increasingly frequently, a growing plant. The hole can be dug by spade or post hole auger, but care must be taken, particularly in heavy clay soils, that holes dug by machine do not have such dense sides that roots cannot grow through them. In dry conditions, a high-pressure water jet can help to create a planting hole and at the same time provide moisture to assist early growth. For large estates, a planting machine adapted from forestry can be mounted behind a tractor to allow workers to put plants into a pre-formed furrow which is then filled in as the machine passes.