Spring is coming to a close and canopy management for our vines has begun. At least we are ready to start pruning the Merlot vines -- the Malbec is not quite ready yet.
If you were to see the effort from afar it would look like we are just roaming through the vines enjoying the afternoon. But in reality we are meticulously examining each vine, looking at their growth patterns and removing any vine shoots that are not optimality positioned. Those shoots that are touching or "sombrean" (shading) the other clusters have met their final days. Leaving these rouge shoots would prevent the other vines from reaching their full potential so they have to go.
The goal is to have a homogeneous, uniform distribution of shoots and clusters along each row. This will allow each vine to intercept the most sunlight and will ventilate the canopy.
The sunlight exposure helps to stimulate the growth of the stalks, skins, pulp, and grape-seeds in just the right combination. If we do it right we get that much closer to guaranteeing that our vines will produce top quality grapes.
While we would love to sit in this air conditioned office and talk about pruning -- the truth is there is a lot more pruning that needs to be done.