The New Year gives us the vision of what the future months may hold, simply based on the year just passed. Nothing gives greater feedback in the power of seasonal change quite like a grapevine that is in need of pruning. The vine in dormancy is the woody, hardened shoots from the prior growing season. If left to grow unkempt, you would surely see less grapes in the following year’s growth. The design that you are aiming to achieve is a method of reshaping the mold for another year, to put the vine back in it’s box in theory.
Pruning isn’t unique to commercial grapevine cultivation. In horticulture, the management of a cultivated plant can be described as an “art or practice”. Within the past year, the team at Parker-Binns participated in a workshop hosted by an Italian viticulturist on the art of pruning. Once you leave the world of making quick cuts on a vine and enter the realm of maximizing space and counting buds to stage the vintage to come, you have embraced the art needed to get the job done.
The balance that exists in vine pruning is learned over time, because a successful practice can be repeated for years with shocking consistency, like a clay mold. If you know your end target, and how each of the different varietals behave in a growing season, an entire vineyard can be pruned with hopes of setting a healthy crop months in advance. Cheers to 2022 and the beautiful potential we have yet to see!!
The answer to last issue’s trivia: Favorita, or more commonly referred to as Vermentino, is a grape that makes expressive and rich white wines. It is grown in North Carolina by Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery. The Wine and Vine trivia for the next issue: What is the world’s largest producer of sacramental wine?
Justin Taylor is Winemaker at Parker-Binns Winery, Mill Spring, NC, and Director-at-large, NCWA.