A Day to Remember (NOT!)

For those of you out there who think that every day on a vineyard is another day spent in paradise, think again!  Whilst I can’t think of a better occupation and way of life, there are some downsides.  For one, a small vineyard like mine is hardly remunerative.  For another, things can go wrong!

Pruning using electronic secateurs (Felco 800 – fabulous!) can result in the odd trellis wire getting severed.  What I usually do is immediately rejoin the wire.  However, working in the lower vineyard I just stuck the two ends in the ground, with a view of returning later and fixing it.  But I forgot.

Last week, whilst happily churning up and down the rows with the tractor mulching the pruned canes that had been pulled out of the trellis, I came across the broken wire, or at least the mulcher did!  There was a grinding sound and the tractor stalled and came to a halt, but not before the loose trellis wire, now wrapped tightly around the mulcher’s drive rotor, had ripped out three vines.  Now, I couldn’t move the tractor as it was firmly anchored to the trellis wire.  To make matters worse, I couldn’t open either door, because the tractor, a Lamborghini 350N (N for narrow) just fits snuggly down the 1.5 Metre wide rows!  But, there is a back window that opens, so I managed to crawl out ungainly on to the top of the mulcher and onto the ground.  A pair of wire cutters freed the Lambro’ and then came the exciting part:  getting back into the tractor!  I managed to get nearly all of me inside, sideways, but my left leg was hanging out the back window.  For a while I contemplated being stuck there forever but, eventually, I managed to curl up my lower leg and get back in.  An angle grinder removed the wire that was jamming the mulcher’s rotor and I was back in business!

Time lost: 1Hr 30 Minutes.  Damage:  three grape vines (Chardonnay) stuffed.  Ego:  shredded.  Photos: No way! Such is life!

About Stuart

Born Bushey Herts UK in 1945. Migrated to Australia 1949. Schooled in Launceston Tas. Served in the RAAF 1963-1986 initially as an instrument mechanic, graduating from 64 pilots course in 1968. Service in Vietnam 1971. Graduate: Navy Staff College in 1984. Retired as Wing Commander 1986. Graduate: Charles Sturt University 1987 with BAppSc (Wine Science). A decade of wine politics 1987 - 2007 including state president (Tas) and national vice-president of the Winemakers Federation of Australia. State services member: Veterans Review Board 1991 - 2015 and chairman of Life Education Tasmania Inc 2007 - 2013. Passionate about wine; keen trekker in PNG; military history.
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