Aussie pruners get their secateurs out for vine rivalry

Australia’s best vine pruners will have their skills put to the test this Friday at the BAHCO Australian Pruning Competition.

The competition, which will take place at NMIT’s Northern Lodge vineyard in Eden Park, will see wine producers, students and amateurs cut, clean and tie established vines as judges score them on the condition of the wood, cutting technique and speed.

NMIT’s Ararat vineyard supervisor, Ben Pietsch said the competition aims to recognise the skills of Australia’s best pruners.

“The (wine) industry recognises that grapevine pruning is an integral management practice that has a direct effect on the quality of wines,” Pietsch said.

“This competition has been developed to reflect best practice and to promote and recognise the skills of our pruners.”

Contestants will have three classes to choose from:

– The BACHO individual event (for professional vine pruners and winemaking/viticulture students);

– The teams event (for professional vine pruners and winemaking/viticulture students – three people per team);

– The winemaker/amateur event (for winemakers who don’t normally prune; hobbyists and first-timers).

BAHCO 9320 electric secateurs worth $2,600 plus other prizes will be awarded to contestants who impress.

Spectators are encouraged to come along to the event, which kicks off Friday 29 July at 10am.

Pietsch said pruning vines correctly was important in reducing disease; controlling the quality and quantity of fruit; encouraging strong growth; and reducing canopy maintenance throughout the growing season.