A Renaissance Man and a glass of wine, no glass of wine: Wolf Hall and the tools to wrap Sauvignon Blanc

by Kit Munro

Today, in the MoonRaker vineyard, while wrapping the vines, I have begun reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This novel is set in England during the time of the Tudors. The Observer includes it as one of the ten best historical novels ever written. So, I would assume, Wolf Hall is a better resource for learning about the Tudors than this. Wolf Hall chronicles the rise of Thomas Cromwell.

One of the characters in Wolf Hall is made to sound like a real Renaissance Man:

…is now a little over forty years old. He’s a man of strong build, not tall. Various expressions are available to his face and one is readable; an expression of stifled amusement. His hair is dark, heavy and waving. And his small eyes, which are a very strong sight, light up in conversation, so the Spanish ambassador will tell us quite soon.

It is said he knows by heart the entire new testament in Latin and so as a servant of the Cardinal is apt, ready with a text if abbots flounder. His speech is low and rapid. His manner assured. He’s at home in courtroom or waterfront, bishops palace or inn yard. He can draft a contract, train a falcon, draw a map, stop a street fight, furnish a house, and fix a jury. He’ll quote you a nice point in the old authors from Plato to Plautus and back again. He knows new poetry and can say it in Italian.

In the vineyard the buds are getting bigger and it is making progress slower and slower. I have explained about what wrapping the Sauvignon Blanc vines involves here, but I have not showed the tools that are used.

Once a cane is wrapped, twined, or I suppose you could even say, plaited along the wire it needs to be tied in place. There are two different approaches to this.

It can be tied in place by hand with a cardboard twisty tie. This takes about 7 seconds. This is the old fashioned method and not the one that is usually used in MoonRaker vineyard.

The other approach is to use the Pelenc wrapper. This flash looking machine contains a roll of tape that is long enough to do about 1500 ties. Using this, it takes about 3 seconds.

Both have the same result:

Now, you may not think there is much difference between 3 seconds and 7 seconds, but when there is 60,000 canes that all need tying it makes a huge difference. The buds in this photo will produce maybe 7 bunches of grapes between them,  which will produce about a  glass of wine. A very large glass…

I found my copy of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall  here. If anyone knows of another place this audiobook is availible please let me know in the comments below.