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!