Saturday, November 16, 2019

Whole lotta prunin' going on

The grape grower who owns the majority of the vineyard parcels out behind our house is making changes. It may be because his daughter is taking a more active role in managing the vineyards. That's just a guess on my part, but we see her much more often these days. She recently completed her university studies in viticulture (grape growing) and oenology (wine making) and has become more of a presence out among the vines.

Unpruned vines on the left, pruned vines on the right. Sunrise in the middle.

Among the changes I've noticed is the annual winter pruning work. For a time there were two or three employees who methodically cut the vines over the winter. It was a long, slow, process. At some point I noticed that these employees cut the vines, but left them hanging on the wires. As they completed parcels, a crew of seasonal workers would come in, pull the trimmings off the wires, and line them up between rows for mulching. Now I'm seeing crews of workers doing the actual pruning, too. And it's going much faster than before. At the rate they're working the pruning could be done by Christmas rather than Easter (total speculation on my part). The permanent workers are doing less pruning and more tasks like replacing posts and support wires.

I talked to one of them the other day when I noticed that a couple of parcels had been cleared of their posts and wires, and the vines were cut down to the trunk (usually a single cane is left with buds that will sprout in spring, like in the photo above). He told me that the vines in those parcels are being ripped out and replaced with new ones. He also said they'd be doing the same next year in one of the parcels adjacent to our house. We've seen this happen in two or three other parcels over the years. It's an interesting process to watch. It takes three or four years before the replanted parcels will produce grapes. I wonder if they'll be replanted with the same or other varietals.

It's good to see this grower (and his wife and daughter) continue to reinvest in the vineyards. That tells me that they must be doing relatively well and are looking toward the future of their business.

7 comments:

  1. Interesting post and beautiful sunrise.

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  2. That's good news about the daughter.

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  3. Your photo is really beautiful! And good that the family who owns this vineyard is still so involved with it.

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  4. I wish I could be there for those morning walks! You guys post the photos so I am "virtually" there...but those bits of color you each find and post make my day!

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  5. Beautiful sunrise photo. Do the vines have a certain life span, thus the need to replace? Or perhaps they're trying new and improved ones.

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  6. evelyn, thanks!

    mitch, there has to be some reward for getting out in the cold at sunrise.

    chris, yes!

    mary, glad you enjoy them!

    emm, the internet tells me that vines can produce for a hundred years or more; normal lifespan is 50 to 100 years.

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