Pruning Again December 7, 2023 11:47

Pruning is the most important yearly vineyard job. Pruning is on my mind and what my body is doing this time of year.

Bill Frick pruning grapevineSo I have to tell you about pruning. I am consumed with pruning. It is my favorite job. It is essential as the foundation for the next vintage. Great wines are built on decisions made while pruning.

If not pruned a grapevine becomes a tangled mess of canes and leaves. Clusters of fruit can be found hidden in the leaves, but they are small disorderly and bland tasting.

 If you are going to make wine from a grapevine, then pruning it is essential. So this is what you would do.


Grapevines with colorful fall leaves

As days get shorter and colder the vines go dormant. Leaves turn bright colors from grape pigment and fall into the winter grass. Long bare woody canes from last year’s growth remain. Now in December pruning season starts. There is no rush, but this job needs to be completed before the vines start waking up in April.



Close up of pruning


While pruning you chose to work with only the healthiest canes that grew last season. Other canes and growth are completely cut away. The remaining chosen canes have dozens of small firm buds  That cane is cut back to leave just one or two of those buds. Each one of those buds will give you one or two ripe grape clusters 9 months from now.




Pruned vine in the vineyard

Pruning 101

1. Pull out your shears
2. See and study how the vine grew last year.
3. Decide how you what you want the vine to grow next year.
4. Start cutting to make it happen.

As you focus and work with the grapevine it becomes your universe.
This is your presence. You don't think of anything else.
Your ultimate reality.
Gannon Vineyard fully pruned
 Estate Gannon Vineyard fully pruned and sleeping on a luxurious green grass carpet.


Pruned grapevines sleeping in winter.
Pruned grapevines in winter. Estate Owl Hill Vineyard.
Glass of red wine
Cheers!   It’s like déjà vu all over again. (Yogi Berra)