Thursday, February 11, 2010

Precise & Professional Pruning Prior to Premiere

Precise pruning is a job for professionals. On my recent travels, I learned a lot about the various pruning methods. In Rioja, 100 year-old Tempranillo vines are shaped into "Gobelet" training systems, in Burgundy they favor "Single Guyot" for their Pinot Noir, and Bordeaux is a mix of Guyot, and "Bilateral-Cordon" which you traditionally see in Napa Valley and on our estate.

Yesterday at VIADER, we finally took to the vineyards and started pruning with an army of about 15 men. Pruning is an essential part in the management of vines, and has very specific timing needs. I'm not a viticulturalist, but I'll do my best to explain it the way I understand it. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!)

Typically, once the cold weather settles in after harvest, the vines lose their leaves, cease photosynthesis and go dormant for about 2-3 months. Unused energy in the form of carbohydrates from within the canes is slowly pulled down for storage in the trunk. These carbohydrates are later needed for bud-break and early canopy development. Pruning the dried canes as the weather warms up gives the young buds the extra push to break through and pull that energy into life.

Each bud, like our estate Syrah vine pictured here, will produce a shoot that may have 1-2 grape clusters, so pruning is important for gauging and controlling future yields for that harvest year.

My brother Alan commented, "This is when you create and set the balance for the rest of the year." We'll have a better idea of yield as we get closer to bloom, usually in late March. There's still more fun to come beforehand, so stay tuned!

All the best,
Janet Viader
sales & marketing @ VIADER

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