The “Arm-strong Hand-draulic” vineyard is defined in Providence’s netting process.  The narrow rows (1.5 Metre) and the steep terrain negate the use of any mechanised approach to this activity.  The tools of trade are stiff haired brooms, this year with cane handles and they have performed very well with no breakages.

Once the nets are over each block of vines they are sewed together with single filament fishing line, circa 50 lbs break and strain, and then the supply of used elevator cables are placed on top of the netting on the outsides, away from the vines themselves so that the Currawongs can’t reach the fruit.  Total exclusion of birds has secondary effects:  firstly, there are no European wasps, as they are unable to broach the fruit themselves and must wait for birds to initiate damage.  As there are no birds under the nets, feral cats don’t slit the netting to get in at night after birds.

Today we will finish the sewing and net the last block.  What follows is daily inspections to ensure no damage or holes (and to carefully remove any snakes that get snagged trying to slither through).  The is an interesting and exacting exercise, because I extract them alive.  Snakes and I have no argument!  Damage can still be caused by wallabies walking around the edges and pooping on the netting, as well as native hens (turbo chooks) who get their feet tangled.

Armstrong Handraulic Netting at Providence

Armstrong Handraulic Netting at Providence

About Rusty Cook

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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