Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pruning Time in the Vineyard

As the cycle of the new year begins, pruning the old wood off the vines is the first course of business. There are many considerations as you move along the vines looking at the old shoots to determine what to cut and what to leave on the vine. And then there is the climate and soil that need to be taken into account as well. Generally I like to leave a fist size space in between the 'spurs' where the new shoots will emerge. Then on each spur decide which shoot is the least healthy and remove it and cut the remaining old shoot down to 2-3 buds. For very vigorous varieties, like Tempranillo, two shoots are left on with two buds to help keep the vigor in the vine to the growth needed for fruit instead of just leafy growth. But the vines need enough leafy growth to make sure that there is enough energy to grow and ripen the fruit........a lot of thought into every vine!

This year is looking to be truly a drought year- 50% down from where we should be at this time of the year. Maintenance of the roots is vital right now, so light irrigation is being started to make sure the vines are healthy enough to start their growing season. Thoughts as to a modified irrigation schedule for the summer is already being planned with the knowledge that we may only be able to keep them healthy enough to survive. It is going to be a long road this year and if the weather continues to be light on rain, will be little fruit to harvest- yes, I am already anticipating harvest.

On another note, I just returned from Sacramento from attending the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium. I did not attend any of the seminars, but did get a chance to hit the trade show looking at new equipment, catching up with friends in the industry, and thanking those vendors that I have worked with. This event is also the time that the annual TAPAS meeting is held. This year it was announced that I have been elected to the board- quite an honor for me- to be chosen to work with a team dedicated to promoting the Tempranillo grape as well as varieties that are grown traditionally in the countries of Portugal and Spain. This organization has grown enough to be recognized by other countries growing this variety and would like to join us in our efforts. This is pretty exciting to get this type of recognition and I am looking forward to working with the representatives to see what we can do together to promote Tempranillo around the world.

Well, it is time to get back to my favorite part of winemaking- end of the month and year paperwork...........time for a glass of Tempranillo!

The Mustang Winemaker

1 comment:

Neo-Luddite said...

Congrats on your election to the TAPAS board. Should your duties bring you to L.A., let us know.

We're all praying for rain. Now, if we can just a vestal virgin somewhere...

Mike & Anne

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