twitter icon facebook icon youtube icon instagram icon

Stories from the valley

Winter in the Vineyard

Contributed by Tim Johnson

With the vines now dormant, it’s time to start one of the biggest tasks in the vineyard – pruning. We are old school and do it by hand. We are also hands on and do all of the pruning ourselves. That means every vine. All 16,430 of them. 

As my father-in-law says, you really don’t look at the whole vineyard when to start this chore. You just look at the vine you are pruning. Otherwise you would lay down your clippers in futility. 

Unpruned vines are a bit wild and unruly. Canes that bore last year’s fruit and leaves, look medusa like in the winter sun. 

unpruned grape vine in winter

The purpose of pruning is to bring the vine down a controlled number of buds for next year’s growth that will provide the optimum balance of good vegetation and fruit. On head trained vines like these zinfandel, this means 5-7 spurs with 2-3 buds each. 

pruned grape vine

After the vineyard is pruned, we will mulch the canes and adding carbon back into the soil. 

Sometimes, we even get a little creative and weave a tribute to the season.

grape vine wreath