Vineyard News: Frost fans and arch wrapping

Vineyard News: Frost fans and arch wrapping

The acquisition of the new legacy block vineyard, which comprises 32 hectares, has led to some new and exciting developments in the vineyard at Kies Family Wines.

We have just finished the pruning process for our vineyards and we have done things a little bit differently this year.

A well-pruned vineyard sets the foundation for a vintage where fruit ripens easily, with the right tannin structure and flavours to keep our particular wine labels (eg. Dedication Shiraz) consistent.


The aim of precise pruning is to find the right balance between fruit development, and the energy producing parts of the vine (the leaves or canopy).

Some would think that the production of ample fruit would be the aim of the viticulturist, however if the fruit production outweighs the energy production of the vine, the fruit cannot sufficiently ripen, and it leaves the vine stressed.

We also need to find the balance between a canopy of leaves to protect the fruit from the sun, and one that allows for airflow (to help remove moisture and prevent disease) and some sun exposure to help with ripening.

This is where a skilled pruning team comes in; expertly selecting the correct amount of buds to maintain both essential fruit quality and vine health.


Majority of the Kies Family Wines vineyard is rod and spur pruned, which is significantly more expensive than spur pruning.

Spur pruning is simply cutting the canes to leave 2 buds, whereas rod and spur pruning is much more labour intensive; it is completed by selecting the two strongest and well formed shoots on either side of a vine, cutting the cane leaving the right amount of buds to produce the optimum amount of fruit on each side of the vine.

These are then wrapped onto the trellis to allow maximum airflow and vine health. Arch wrapping is the next level up in quality from rod and spur pruning and allows the buds on the middle of the cane to prosper, in a protective, yet ventilated canopy. These are the most productive buds and makes for optimum pruning year in, year out.


On the 12th of September three frost fans were installed in the Kies Family Wines vineyard. These are 11 metre high structures, which are designed to mitigate risk in the coming vintages.

Vintages 2013 and 2019 were both heavily impacted by frost damage for the Kies family, and significantly diminished yields.

With weather patterns becoming more unpredictable the installation of the fans is set to mitigate future frost risks. The fans work by sensor activation at 1.5 degrees celsius, and rotate 360 degrees every 6.5 minutes, as this is the time it takes for the frost to settle on the vines.

The fans act to create air turbulence by mixing the cold air on the ground with the warmer air above, thus preventing the frost to settle on the vine.


Included in the purchase of the neighbouring vineyard, was an existing shed on the property.

The Kies family have installed a large solar array complete with battery storage, which allows the shed to function off the grid, significantly reducing the environmental impact of running the vineyard.


Construction of the new winery next to the cellar door, coincides with vintage 2020, where Bronson Kies (6th generation) will be at the helm, making the wines.

The winery will allow Kies Family Wines to expand its tourism offering by allowing visitors an insight into the wine making process, with a purpose built viewing platform included in the design.

The foundations have been laid for the winery and we will keep you posted as the construction progresses.

Overall, the significant investment that the Kies family is making in our vineyard, is seen as a commitment to making high quality wines year in and year out.

We have been blessed with excellent terroir for growing famous Barossa Valley varietals like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, but the quality of the vines is heavily influenced by how our vines are pruned and looked after.

This makes it easier for the winemaker to produce wines expressing region specific flavours, which are well-balanced and expressive.

A great wine starts in the vineyard and this has never been more true than in the superior quality vineyard management at Kies Family Wines, which translates into high quality wines fetching high prices in overseas markets.

For more information or further comments please contact Jesseca Kies on

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