Vineyard Update - Winter Pre-Pruning
While the vines are dormant, we always pre-prune the vines. This means we go through the vineyard and cut the prior year's canes down to about 12 inches. This is the time of year when we get rain, so there is the ever-present danger of canker disease entering the cutting wounds. The disease moves slowly though, so any canker that enters into the wounds now will be cut off at final pruning. The goal is to allow a later final pruning which is close to budbreak and has the effect of releasing hydraulic pressure within the vine and postponing budbreak by a few weeks. By postponing budbreak, we help slow things down and prevent a lot of frost and rain damage to the early growth and flowers when frost and rains
come late. This also helps spread out the work so that I can get the final pruning done more quickly and (usually) before the delicate new buds arrive. Our wine club members and other friends that want to come out and experience vineyard work tend to like this activity since it's easy to learn and it comes at a cool time of the year.