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Laura Pearse
25 August 2022 | Laura Pearse

Does flooding damage a vineyard?


Does flooding damage a vineyard?

We’re called Upper Reach, because we’re situated on the Upper Reach’s of the Swan River, and gosh don’t we know it today?

Behind me this is all usually vineyard…not a raging river.

Our Shiraz vines are completely submerged right now, that water is deeper than me.


Will this flood effect the vines? How does flooding effect vineyards?

No, it’s winter so at the moment the vines are dormant..

The vines are effectively hibernating above the ground, but below ground their root system is developing all through winter.

As Spring arrives, the weather will warm up. This warmer weather will encourage the sap of the vine to start flowing which starts off budburst, when the buds burst open and tiny leaves start to form.

Because it’s winter, the flooding doesn’t damage the vines.

However with every flood there is debris washed in.

This being a really large flood, there will be a whole lot of rubbish washed through the vineyard, and some of it will get caught in the vines.

After the floodsThe real problem from a winter flood is cleaning up all the rubbish and detritus that is washed in by the flood waters.


We’re going to have a massive cleaning up job, there will be lots of branches and logs washed through, some of the big logs will no doubt have broken wires and even smashed vineyard posts.


First the river needs to stop running through the vineyard, then we wait for the water to soak into the soil and the mud to dry up a bit, we don’t want to sink!

Then we’ll walk through the vineyard and pull out all the debris onto a trailer and get rid of it.


But almost worse, there’ll be a whole heap of grass, river mud and fair bit of horse poo washed in amongst the vines, which doesn’t make the clean up more fun!

What does the vineyard look like a week later?Flood Debris

Once the river stopped running, the waterdries up pretty quickly. 
Unfortuately we still have to get those vines pruned- we don't prune if the water is so deepthat it would flow over the top of wellington boots, but once they can get in there, it tends to be a race to get pruning finished!

Standing in water your feet get pretty cold and you've got to be careful as the mud is very slippery.


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