Located just outside the town of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, Wales is White Castle Vineyard. The 5-acre vineyard was planted in May 2009 and 2010, with Pinot noir précoce, Regent, Rondo, Phoenix, Seyval blanc and Siegerrebe, with 1,000 Cabernet Franc vines added to the mix last year.
To date owners, Robb and Nicola Merchant have been trimming vines with a handheld strimmer, a task which was taking over 60 hours and drawing the couple away from other more important roles such as running the cellar door, delivering wines to trade customers and promoting their Welsh wines.
“This has been a pretty difficult year for us, but investing in a proper tractor-mounted vine trimmer seemed the most logical thing to do as we have new vines which will be coming online next year,” said Robb.
Having previously purchased vines from NP Seymour’s viticultural sales specialist Sam Barnes, Robb contacted the team to get a full overview of the range of vine trimmers, including the BMV E600A Vineyard Trimmer.
“When it comes to buying machinery, I have never just rushed in and bought, I have always done a lot of research,” said Robb. “It wasn’t just price-driven but about finding out what would be most suitable for us in the long term. The reason I chose the BMV E600A Vineyard Trimmer is because I am already thinking ahead and will at some point look to invest in a defoliator, which will fit on the same mounting bracket as the vine trimmer and will use the same control panel and hydraulic setup.”
While Robb always aims to do as much business as possible in Wales, noting that he bought his fruit tractor from a local dealership, when it came to more specialist equipment NP Seymour was his first choice.
“This is the first time we have used NP Seymour and despite being so far away I felt very comfortable,” said Robb. “When I started looking at vine trimmers Sam was pretty responsive, quick and accommodating to any questions. When I was ready to buy, having done my research, Sam sorted everything out. I spoke to Nick Seymour a few days later who asked if we could send across measurements for the tractor and Sam came to deliver the trimmer with a bracket for the front of the tractor. It was really easy right the way through.”
Despite Sam having only delivered the BMV single-sided E600A Vineyard Trimmer the day before, Robb had already worked through 60% of the vines, stating that not only had it made a good job so far but that it was already making life easier for hand leaf removal too.
“It was pretty strange to use at first, but I’ve not rushed and it’s been really easy to get to grips with,” said Robb. “It’s going to save a lot of time and effort and will pay for itself very quickly. I could trim the whole vineyard in a day now and will be looking to do that two or three times per year. I think it’s going to free up about 60 hours’ work, which can be better spent looking after other more important areas of the business.”
For more information on vine trimmers, please phone the office on 01580 712200.