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Over the past month, BRI’s viticulture team have been out harvesting fruit from trials across multiple vineyards. It isn’t just to collect viticultural data on yield, these grapes head to our Research Winery so our research can cover the entire process from vineyard to finished wine.

Grapes were harvested for both commercial trials and BRI’s research, including a comparison of long spur with 4-cane pruning, mealybug management options, and testing the principles behind our upcoming Next Generation Viticulture programme.

Harvest at BRI is slow, detailed work. All the trials are handpicked from specific vines, keeping those grapes labelled so bunches can be counted, the production of each vine weighed, and sometimes berries individually counted and assessed for disease.

In these photos, the viticulture team are collecting Sauvignon Blanc pruned with Long Spur pruning at Rarangi Vineyard in Marlborough.

The combination of increasing production costs, a constrained labour supply and increasing vineyard area all signal a need to explore alternative production systems for producing Sauvignon Blanc.  Long spur pruning has shown promise as an alternative to cane pruning for Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough, with the potential for reduced labour requirements at a similar yield and quality.

Now in the second year of the project, grapes from four different high-yield vineyards across the Wairau Valley were harvested. The research is assessing cost and yield, as well as the incidence of disease, and wine quality through BRI’s Research Winery. The trial is a collaboration between BRI, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and Mark Allen Vineyard Advisory Services.

Find out more about our Long Spur Pruning trial below.


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