On the cutting edge…

From John, January 22nd, 2013

Pruning the vineyard is generally considered the least enviable of tasks.  Since it necessarily occurs in the winter when vines are dormant, pruning in Oregon is associated with cold, wet, muddy conditions.  There is not a glove invented that will keep your 10 digits warm throughout the day.

So it is no surprise that in many vineyards, pruning is generally delegated down the economic ladder to its lowest rungs.  And yet Teri and I with our higher degrees and Tom and Dan with accumulated expertise as sommeliers and in all things pertaining to the cellar happily don rain gear and muck boots and trudge out to the vineyard nearly every day this time of year.  Actually the word “happily” might be a tad too positive on many days, perhaps best replaced by “determined”!

Removing last year's main cane (photo by Jeremy Fenske)

Removing last year’s main cane (photo by Jeremy Fenske)

I think that pruning is one of the most important tasks that we accomplish each year in the vineyard:  it allows us to mechanically separate the weak vines from their stronger neighbors, pruning each according to its vitality.  Days and weeks out there with the vines allow a slow, methodical survey of the vigor of the vineyard, helping us to identify areas that might need additional compost or specific cover crops.  Specific clones will tell you this time of year whether they were pruned and trained correctly last year or whether different methods need to be tried this time around.

There is a wealth of information sitting out there if one takes the time to access it.  It is no lie that great wine is made in the vineyard and I noted early on that when I traveled to Burgundy to visit notable small domains, I was as likely to find “the man” out in the vineyard as in the cellar.

(And for a meditative analysis of pruning, please see last year’s post on “the zen of pruning”)

Share This

Recent News & Rants

Fire and Wine

Our vineyards were edging relatively close to ripeness as smoke from the fires in the Cascade foothills hit the Willamette Valley on Sept 8. So we waited anxiously as the sun disappeared and the air cooled and the grape vines went into a kind of dormancy. Thankfully, on the night of September 17th an epic storm out of the North Pacific finally came rolling in with thunder and lightening and what turned out to be a massive amount of rain which helped extinguish the fires and renew our hopes for the coming vintage.

There’s More... >
FIELD GRAFTING AT CLOS ELECTRIQUE

Armed with a You Tube video, 2 grafting knives, and advice from an old hand at grafting apples, we learned a field grafting process called t-budding. By grafting scion wood from our stellar Clos Electrique Pinot noir clones onto inferior Dijon clone vines, we will harvest an entire new vineyard block of kick-ass old red Burgundy in just two years!

There’s More... >
Life in the Vineyard During the Time of Covid

Walking out in the vineyard these days reminds me that life carries on in spite of what is going on for the “two leggeds”

There’s More... >

... for anything your heart desires: a wine, a retailer, a rant, a newsletter, true love (if you’re not too picky). It’s all one convenient, global search away:

(or close this incredibly helpful search tool).