Rosa’s top 10 tips for vineyard managers EN

Renowned vineyard manager Rosa Kruger was praised for treating “each vineyard as a family and each vine as a member of it” when she collected the 2018 IWC Personality of the Year award. 
Here, she passes on the lessons she has learned while saving old vines in South Africa and travelling more than 6,000km a month to check vineyards. 

1. Stay true to the terroir – in sculpting the vines as well as in the cellar. The vineyard should be planted and grow according to its surroundings, rather than from a standard method of pruning or trellising. In this way, the grapes will reflect that specific area. For example, bush vines in Swartland are shaped to deal with the heat and drought conditions, the weaver baskets of Santorini to deal with the wind etc. 
2. Plant varieties that will express your terroir the best. In South Africa, we have no regulations on what to plant where. We are, at the moment, planting new varieties in new areas (even at 1600m above sea level) to see which variety will work best in which new area.

‘Prune the vine according to its needs, rather than according to a recipe’

3. Be a very skilled pruner that respects the vine and prune the vine according to its needs, rather than according to a recipe.
4. Keep the effect of global warming in mind in designing new vineyards anywhere in the world. In my country we are designing new plantings in such a way that we capture every little bit of rain and direct it to a dam. We are also trying to plant in such a way that we escape the terrible effects of soil compaction.