A Little Off the Top: Pruning the Vineyard

With the weather cooperating we arrived at the vineyard a little before 7am.  It was clear and cold but the sun was out all day which was a nice contrast from the last few weeks of overcast weather.  After a brief meeting to discuss pruning everyone set-off down there individual rows.  A few cuts are made to remove the older canes from last year’s canopy then a few more precision cuts are made to reduce the wood down to one bud.  Typically we would leave two buds for each spur, however because this year will be the first year we harvest a crop from the B&T Vineyard we want to insure a small crop.  With one bud and vines planted in 6X8ft spacing we will be shooting for crop yields of 1.5-2.5 tons to the acre depending on the block and variety.

We worked our way through the vineyard and the sun began to warm-up the landscape.  It was a beautiful sight the vines began to ‘sweat’ or bleed water from the freshly cut wood.  Beads of water pooled up on the exposed wood and would drip off and fall to the vineyard floor.  A peaceful sight as hundreds of vines soaking sun show the first signs of spring.  This action while ever so slight shows us the vines are starting to wake from the winter long dormancy.  While the buds have not started to break (the official start of the growing season) the vines are starting to become active. The roots are now applying upward pressure and starting the season long movement of water and nutrients from the soil up into the vine.  With a few more warm days the buds will begin to swell and the new the vineyard will burst into action.