Yesterday our winemaker, Larry McCulloch, took advantage of the sunny afternoon to complete a pruning project in the vineyards. In April, Larry pruned extra canes (branches) on each vine so that later in the summer every vine will have a few canes, each full of juicy grapes. By allowing the vine to produce a smaller amount of fruit, the plant is forced to concentrate its sugars into the remaining grapes.
We wrapped and tied four canes onto the wire trellises earlier this spring (two canes on each side of the vine), while leaving several extra canes growing upwards on each vine. These extra canes are what Larry likes to call “insurance” canes – if any of the canes tied to the trelisses do not produce enough buds we can replace them with one of these extra canes. Over the past couple of weeks buds and leaves have sprouted throughout the vineyard, and now we can see which canes have produced the best buds.
Larry walks through the vineyard, pruning “insurance” canes if the trellised canes are producing well. If he sees open space on a cane tied to the trellis, he prunes it off and ties down one of his extra canes in its place. It’s always important to have a backup plan when you’re farming!
Now that all of the canes have been tied to the bottom trellis wires, the buds and leaves will continue to grow, and we’ll wrap the growing canes onto upper trellis wires as the vines continue to grow throughout the spring.