Rathfinny Wine Estate

Pruning 101

Finally it’s starting to feel like winter.

We’re getting frosty starts, and colder days, still plenty of rainy one’s too but we’re managing to work around those.

This winter we have almost 240,000 vines to prune, which is no small task.

All of our vines are cane pruned which is common in cooler (cold) climates where the fruitfulness of the lower buds on the cane is often lower. By doing this often the vine will be in better balance producing a superior fruit to leaf ratio.

img_8763_23809611415_oThere are many aspects to consider when we prune; and each is interlinked: vine health, harvest yield and budburst relative to spring frost- luckily due to our site we don’t have too much to worry with that.

One thing that is interesting about grapevines is that the grape clusters for this year’s fruit were formed in the canes in late Spring of last year, therefore when we are pruning we have to bear in mind not just this year, but last year and next year as well.

So we start by looking at last year’s growth, which gives us an indication of the health of the vine. If it has had healthy growth, with sturdy canes then it is considered to be in good shape.

Basically like the picture below.

IMG_3396If however it is struggling a little bit with weak shoots we need to compensate for this, to allow the vine to concentrate its energies on a smaller scale. So based on this we then prune to achieve a desired ratio of fruit to leaf area. A large vineyard may look like a great sea of vines but it’s not one size fits all by any means.

The basic’s regarding pruning is to remove last year’s growth to stimulate new growth and fruitfulness.

Hopefully it looks something like the picture below when its finished with.

IMG_3397

Without the human hand the vine would produce masses of unruly vegetative growth and very small clusters of fruit. Not exactly what we want.

This is where all our fantastic local pruners come in. Some of them were here pruning last year, some were here over summer, and some were here for harvest. Regardless of that they are all local’s and they’re doing a great job.

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