Spring brings one of the busiest periods for Dry Creek Vineyard’s field crews. It can be more stressful than harvest in the race to keep up with each stage of rapid vine growth and development. One important step that precedes all that activity is the careful pruning of our grapevines. We recently finished pruning our estate vineyards, just staying ahead of budbreak. Pruning correctly sounds simple, but it takes training and experience to know what old growth to remove and what to leave behind. It sets up a vine for balanced and healthy growth.
The first decision to make in pruning is deciding what spurs or canes to leave behind. It’s a thinking-man’s job: pick the cane in the right position—not too high or too low for the trellis wires—and also one that is the right diameter to support strong, healthy shoots. With our head-trained vineyards it becomes even more challenging to find a cane that is oriented in both a horizontal and vertical plane. Leaving the right number of buds behind is also crucial: too many buds means more work later to remove excess shoots. Too few means too little fruit will develop and the remaining shoots may exhibit excess vigor, shading the fruit too much or leading to the need for other operations like pulling more leaves or cutting back excessive cane growth later.
We’ve made a short video to show the hard work and pride that goes into tending our treasured vines. We have dedicated people like Matt Vogensen and Don Wallace who oversee this important work to make sure that every cut counts.