Growing better pinot noir – Introduction

Pinot noir is one of the oldest grapes grown for making wine. A good bottle of pinot noir can be difficult to produce. The grape vine is susceptible to frost, viruses and birds. The wine can ferment violently and uncontrollably in production, and the flavour depends on the “flavour of the soil”. Vincent was interested in using environmentally friendly treatments of the soil under pinot noir vines. He compared a standard herbicide with two greener alternatives: straw mulch and compost.

The key question Vincent wanted to answer was:

  • Did the under vine treatment influence the vine yield and wine quality?


2000 Autumn Study design
Winter Under vine treatments applied. Data collection commences.
2001 Autumn First grape harvest after treatment.
Winter First pruning after treatment.
Spring First treatment top up; vine growth monitored.
Summer First soil & leaf stalk samples collected.
2002 Autumn Second grape harvest after treatment.
Winter Data analysis commences; second pruning after treatment.
Spring Vine growth monitored.
Summer Second soil & leaf stalk samples collected.
2003 Autumn Third grape harvest after treatment.
Winter Third pruning after treatment; field trial ends.

Hear from Vincent about standard practices

Click the play button to hear about standard practice.