Winter Pruning Kicks off 2015 in the Vineyard

Have you ever wondered what happens in the vineyard in the winter? After the vineyard team takes a well-deserved break, they return to get the vineyard ready for the new growing season! And that starts with pruning in the vineyard – one of many labour intensive jobs throughout the year. Each block and vine is pruned at different times from January to March based on which is ready first.

 

Picture 1: Spur Pruning

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Our team started pruning mid January and they started with the Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon blocks at La Stella (our sister winery in Osoyoos) as these grape varieties are more winter resistant than Syrah for example. The Syrah (at Le Vieux Pin) is left to the end…that’s what we are pruning this month (March).

What is pruning anyways? Well, pruning is the annual removal of wood during the dormant season in a vineyard.  This is the first step in our yield management strategy and it is an essential step benefiting both the plant and the quality of our fruits.

 

Pruning also helps us manage:

1. the vine growth

2. the size and efficiency of the vine

3. the shoot position

4. with vine balance (we aim to get a balance between the canopy surface and the amount of clusters per vine)

5. it removes dead or diseased wood

 

Picture 2: A picture of spur pruning and cane pruning.

We need to replace one of the cordon and we are going to use that cane to make a new one.

The next step in the vineyard will be to tie the fruit wire to the cane to become a cordon.

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Picture 3: This shows the buds we have left.

Those buds will grow into shoots that will hopefully carry clusters (of grapes).

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Picture 4: This is called “crying vines”. Because of the very warm temperature we are having,

the sap is starting to flow again in the wood vessels and sap is coming out of the vines when we cut it to prune it.

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The next step is suckering (removing unwanted new growths and non-grape bunches bearing buds), this will be in late April/early May. Followed by shoot thining (in May/June); In August we start green harvesting (dropping bunches of grapes to help concentrate the energy to the fewer remaining bunches on the vine) this happens when veraison starts.

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