Page A Blank Canvas

After a brief respite, work in the vineyard has begun again in earnest.  It’s time to evaluate just how many buds have made it through winter, then make an educated guess at how many to leave for the upcoming season.  We look at things like bud viability, cane density, internodal gap distance, and the long-range forecast before making our first cuts.

Generally, we prune our vines back to two trunks, each housing a cane of ten or so buds.  We’ve been lucky with a mild winter to this point and bud viability is relatively high compared to previous years.  However, one frigid night can quickly change this rosy outlook, so as an insurance measure we’ll leave a third cane on one of the trunks just in case March decides to go out like a lion.  This third cane is left untied early in the spring then either cut off or tied down at a later date based on how many total buds survive through the dreaded frost window.

The art of pruning may seem like a boring, monotonous chore to some, but I actually quite enjoy it.  I look at each vine as a blank canvas, ready to be fashioned into a viticultural masterpiece.  Laugh not, for the responsibility to empower a vine to produce stellar fruit should not be taken lightly.  This important task of renewal sets the tone for the year ahead and restarts the cycle of life.  With each successive snip of the pruners, it’s hard not to anticipate and envision the bounty this vine will bring us in the fall.

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