On the serene, undulating grounds of New Hall Vineyard in Essex, Makita’s new cordless 36V LXT backpack pruning shears are making light work of the annual seasonal prune.
Spur pruning is an essential requirement carried out on the estate by a team of professional stewards who are involved in every aspect of the vineyards planting, maintenance and harvesting routines.
The process of pruning is essential to the quality of the harvested grapes and at New Hall the routine is assisted with the use of cordless, battery operated pruners throughout January and February each year.
New Hall, a family run business, has been open since the late 60’s and excels in producing award-winning wines. Vintners Andy and Lucy Hares have managed the 150 acre vineyard for the last four years. It is now one of the largest and oldest first established commercial vineyards in the UK and referred to by many as ‘a hidden gem’. New Hall has also taken The Winemaker of the Year Award several times.
The new Makita Twin 18V LXT pruning shear, the DUP361ZN, provides 36V of power and features a 2-stage blade opening adjustment which varies according to the size of the branch. The shear has a maximum cutting capacity of 33mm and a maximum blade opening of 54mm. The blade can be interlocked with the trigger providing smooth blade movement similar to that of a hand pruner.
A newly designed slim backpack harness provides comfort, while an arm band and cord holder prevents the connection cord from dangling around the operator’s body and from getting caught on branches.
“Operator safety is of great importance to us and many of our stewards have been with us a very long time,” says Andy Hares. “Our team have a demanding 8-hour day, regardless of weather, so it is essential that the kit they are using is both comfortable and safe while at the same time offering high cutting efficiency.”
Two Makita 18V Lithium-Ion batteries, housed in the water resistant backpack harness that fits neatly into the small of the back, supply energy to the powerful 36V DC motor drive and work in series. The DUP361ZN shear features an electronic current limiter for overload protection, a motor protection circuit and a twin LED battery fuel gauge clearly positioned on the switch box.
“The weight distribution of the harness is particularly comfortable and secure, and wide padded shoulder straps provide good support,” says senior steward Mary who has been at New Hall for over 25 years, “The hand grip of the shear contours nicely in my hand and feels lighter than others we have used. And its size allows you to cut closer to the crown of the vine so it is really quite flexible.”
Using two 5.0Ah Li-Ion batteries a run time of three working days is delivered although branches and growth of wider diameter can reduce this slightly. The charge time of a 5.0 Ah battery using a Makita fast charger is 45 minutes and Makita’s intelligent battery technology heightens charge retention. This model has a net weight of 3.3kg, has low sound and low vibration levels.
New Hall, who contract-makes for other vineyards, has an output of 150,000 bottles of still wine annually while some 75,000 bottles of sparkling wine are made in the traditional method requiring two years maturing in the bottle. In hot summers, such as that of 2018, yields are significantly higher and some grapes are sold to other vineyards.
New Hall excels in customer relations with Summer and Christmas festivals, tastings, tours, trials and Limited Edition celebrations. New Hall’s new book: ‘A History of the Vineyard’ will be published in June 2019.
This Makita body only machine comes with oil supply, wrench, diamond file and shear blade set and is packaged in a robust and weatherproof Makita tool bag.
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