Grape vines grow quickly! It seems like we just had bud break and now the vines are already growing tall and full.
The grapevine canopy is made up of shoots and leaves which need to be thinned and tucked throughout the growing season. Thinning is the process of removing extra shoots to give the remaining ones greater and more even access to sunlight. Thinning also improves fruit quality, as the plant can focus resources rather than spreading them thin.
The remaining vines grow out and down, and if left unattended will eventually reach the ground where they are susceptible to damage, pests and disease. To avoid this, the vines are tucked up between wires that encourage upward growth and create a uniform distribution of foliage that minimizes shading of the fruit. The increased air flow and sunlight penetration around the vine lessens disease pressure on the plant, as well. Tucking also keeps the rows looking neat and tidy. Compare the “before” photo (at top) with the “after” photo:
Tucking is done by hand several times during the growing season. It’s labor-intensive work and care must be taken not to break the growing vines. Our amazing crew, led by Vineyard Manager Miguel Ortiz, is quick and efficient--many of them have been with us for nearly 20 years or more! Through their skill and expertise, the vines are kept tucked and safe, ready for the next stage of growth when they begin to flower.
Read along as we follow the vineyard throughout the year in The Vineyard Series: