Pruning Complete At The EstateI just got back from the vineyard, where the crew had finised pruning. The shot above is a close-up of the head region of the young Pinot Noir clone 943 vines. You can see that the buds are pushing a little bit.
This year we pruned the vineyard a month earlier than last year. I have less fear of frost than I did in 2008. Also, we were seeing about as much push at the tops of the canes as we did at the end of April last year. It was simply time to get it done.
This pic shows one of the Pinot 943 vines. We are pruning to two canes and two renewal spurs (double-Guyot pruning). All the vines in the eastern lower 2/3rds of the vineyard will be trained this way, on 6' x 4' spacing. I am hoping that this training and the tight spacing will give us better options for crop level and exposure control, at the expense of a somewhat more unruly canopy compared to the cordon-trained vines.
The established western half of the vineyard is trained to double cordon. I have posted before (in fact, every year I think) about how most of the pruners just don't get what a 2-bud spur is (see pics in the post linked above). So when I was out yesterday it was no surprise to see a bunch of 3- and 4-bud spurs spread throughout the older vines. Fortunately I didn't have to call Jean-Marie on it the assistant foreman and another guy were already moving through to trim the long spurs. It is non-trivial to prune correctly to double-Guyot as we will be in the new blocks, but at least we won't have this second round of corrective work to do every year.
And speaking of new blocks:
here's a shot of the eight acres we are hoping to plant this year. The ground is all ready to go. We just need to get the surveyor out to mark the corners. Then the crew will come in with the planting chains and the plastic knives to mark the vine locations. Next we will bring in the guy with the special tractor implement to vibrate the end-posts into the ground, and the guys will then pound the pencil rods (for the vines) and the T-bars (for the trellis). Next, we string out the fruit wire, tension it to the end posts and clip it to the pencil rods and T-bars. After the fruit wire is in place we can run the drip tubing and place the emitters. Finally, only after we have water ready to go, we can put some vines in the ground with milk cartons around them to keep the rabbits from nibbling the new growth. I look at the picture above and I can already see the completed project in my mind's eye. One fervently hopes