Can you spare a few leaves?

viognier curved lines 2006 002.jpg

Some rows of vines in the Stormhoek Viognier semi-circular block of vines are incomplete, and have the odd empty space between vines. Most of these are not visible here, being in the cropped off corner of the block, top right. The rest can be seen in the outside/lower two rows.

Most of the Viognier vines in the picture above will become 6 years old in 2006. A few are five years old, some four, others three and so on. Every year we plant new baby Viognier vines in spaces where no vines are growing.
There are only 20 or so empty spaces left today. One of these days, all of these spaces will be filled by mature vines. Because we will keep planting, till they are.
How do we get empty spaces? Some of our neighbours think our baby Viognier vines taste like 5 star salad. Young vines bud with vibrantly green shoots and tender leaves which are chin-high to a two-foot tall antelope.
When all of the buds are bitten off, the vine withers and dies. Fortunately, these salad-eaters are too timid to go deep into the block, concentrating on the outer rows. And if the vine makes it to a meter high at the end of its first year, from then on they leave it alone.

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