Now that pruning is complete, our winemaker and his team have moved on to trying canes in preparation for this season’s crop of grapes. Several canes on each grape vine are wrapped around the lower two trellis wires so that the growing fruit will hang above the ground and fill in the gaps between plants. The goal is to have two canes tied to the trellis to the left and right of the vine, for a total of four canes per plant. Several “insurance” canes are left standing upright in case the selected canes don’t begin to produce healthy bus and flowers. If this happens, we can simply prune the under-producing cane and tie down one of the insurance canes.
All of this work needs to be done now, because once the buds begin to develop further they are easier to accidentally knock off the vine as we wrestle with the canes. Because of the extremely warm weather this winter and spring we have been leaving extra insurance canes in case the vines run into problems.
Once the vines are wrapped on trellis wires, we simply zip-tie the ends just before the last bud. These ties help reinforce the cane so that it won’t be pulled from the trellis by the weight of developing grapes, and they make the job quicker for us!