Mid-Winter is the Beginning of Activities in the Vineyard
The vineyard gets quiet after the harvest and net removal. The vines have spent the summer and fall growing grapes and then wait patiently for the rain to return so they can have their first drink of water since last spring. we let the soil between the rows grow a cover crop of mustard and native vegetation and we watch as the lady bugs, honey bees and other native species return. We make a point to keep the weeds out of the vine rows to minimize contact and competition with the vines, so dealing with weeds is the first order of business this time of year. Then, in late January, pre-pruning starts. The cutting of the canes to about 12" relieves hydraulic pressure within the vine to stall flowering until most of the cold rain is past with hopes to avoid the possibility of "shatter," when cold rain reduces crop load by making the flowers less fertile. The pre-pruning also makes the final pruning process faster, so that Jeff is able to wait until the majority of the rains pass and still prune the whole vineyard before the shoots start growing in earnest.