Rodney Strong

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End of the Annual Growth Cycle: Winter in the Vineyard

December 1, 2015

As winter settles over Sonoma County, Grower Relations Technician April Berg explains what she and the team are currently up to in the vineyards:

Driving through wine country on these crisp winter days- vines quietly dappled in golden and amber, the air abuzz with holiday excitement- it’s easy to think that all is done in the vineyards for now. However, for winegrape farmers, some very important work is underway in order to set the stage for another successful growing season. Harvest and fruit production can take a lot out of vines so growers will first make sure nutrient and water levels are restored as winter dormancy approaches. However, the most important operation in the vineyard after harvest is by far winter pruning. Pruning, an annual event, usually takes place after leaf fall and is defined as the removal of the previous year’s shoots and canes. Seems simple enough, right? But there are many factors to take into consideration when performing this important job including how much to prune based on vine balance and choosing the proper pruning systems such as cane or spur pruning. Ultimately, pruning helps to determine the quantity and quality of the following crop as well as facilitate ease of canopy management and vine balance.

Once pruning is complete, and the vines are put to sleep for the winter, it truly is time to enjoy the fruits of harvest and toast to a little holiday cheer.