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Grapevines in the Swan Valley

26th October 2018

If you’ve ever been to the Swan Valley, chances are you love wine – the taste of it, the smell of it and perhaps you even love the look of it too. 

What about the grapevines around the place? Have you ever stopped to look at those? We think they’re pretty good-looking too. 

But besides looking at the grape vines, we don’t really think about them, do we? 

And let’s face it, unless you’ve ‘heard something through the grapevine’, you probably wouldn’t even give them a second thought. 

Grapevines are what makes the wine we love so much come into fruition, so with that, we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on them today. 

What are Grapevines?

Grapevines Swan Valley

We might be stating the obvious here, but grapevines are the plant, a vine of genus vitis, on which grapes grow. Although many grape vines have geographical names, they rarely reflect their real origin, if known at all. 

Grapevine also means an informal person-to-person circulation of information or gossip, like in the famous song by Marvin Gaye in which he heard that his girlfriend was leaving him ‘through the grapevine’. 

The first grapevine planting material arrived in Australia with white settlement in 1788 – over 200 years ago. 

Today, grapes are grown commercially in all States and Territories. Grape growing (wine, raisin, and table) is the largest fruit industry in Australia with production in a wide range of environments from temperate to tropical. Wine grape production and wine making is the largest and most predominant of the three viticulture industries. 

Swan Valley Grapevines

Grapevines and wine have long been a part of the Swan Valley, dating back to 1829, and the styles of wine produced in the Swan Valley is vast. 

In fact, very few wine regions can say they are able to produce such a range of wine varieties as the Swan Valley does. Here, we produce anything from sparkling through to fortified styles in the one region. So, we’re pretty special here in the Swan Valley!

grapevines at Windy Creek Estate, Swan Valley

The climate in the Swan Valley is warm with long dry summers that allow the fruit to reach its maximum ripeness. It’s the long and dry ripening period that gives Swan Valley wines their full, robust and multi-dimensional flavours. 

Harvesting the carefully grown fruit is usually done by hand and the exact timing of each session of fruit picking is carefully calculated, according to the temperatures of early summer and the sugar level in the fruit. For premium conditions, grape picking begins at dawn and ends early on hot summer days in the Swan Valley. 

How are grapevines pruned? 

Different winemakers will prune their grapevines differently, but the majority of the grapevines in Australia are either machine pruned, or spur pruned by hand. 

Spur pruning is the simplest and easiest to learn pruning technique suitable for many grape varieties, although it often fails in older varieties or very vigorous, young plants. 

Swanbrook Winery in the Swan Valley continues to prune and pick from the vineyard the old-fashioned way, inviting the public to try it out themselves – we think that’s pretty cool. 

How are they fed? 

Like all plants, grapevines require water and fertilisers to grow and flourish. 

Most grape growers apply inorganic fertilisers through the irrigation system (fertigation). They do this because it is easy, provides a high degree of flexibility and control, minimises leaching losses in summer rainfall districts and ensures the nutrients are available when required by the plant. Broadcasting of fertiliser for incorporation by rain is uncommon and generally used only for particular fertiliser products. 

So, next time you’re in the Swan Valley, why not stop and really look at the many beautiful grapevines surrounding you and thank them for all their hard work? 

It’s just 25 minutes from Perth… Let us take you there. Book a Swan Valley Wine Tour with Top Gun Tours today!


Posted in Education and tagged , , , on 26th October 2018.

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