The harvest has ended, the wines are happily maturing in the cellar and the vines are taking their long winter nap.
Winter is a time at Rudera Wines when the pace has slowed down, or so it seems if one looks at the vineyards standing in the cold rain. The Vines may be dormant, but pruning is one of the most important operations in this dormant season. Once the leaves fall, the vascular system becomes inactive and plugs up. About a month before spring, it is time to prune our vineyards. Pruning is an essential part of vine growth and management and is the only way to focus growth of the vine where you want it.
Pruning helps regulate crop size, dictates how many buds will open in the spring and how many flowers will develop, as each flower becomes a grape. Wine grapes are pruned to produce fewer grapes that are more concentrated in flavour. Grapes are only produced on shoots from one-year-old canes and therefore, healthy new canes must be produced every year to maintain production of grapes. Pruning and training are performed in order to optimize the production potential of the vineyard.
The objective is to maintain a balance between vegetative growth and fruiting. Even more, pruning and training develop a structure that will aid the utilization of sunlight and help adapt to the characteristics of a particular grape variety. It helps to maintain economical and efficient vineyard practices. Effective pruning will result in the right amount of leaves to fully ripen the grapes.Too much shade from vigorous leaf growth produces fewer grapes and less desirable grape quality. Pruning makes the vine hardier and stronger and removes unwanted excess vegetation. Winter in the vineyard is also a time to sow cover crops in between the rows of vines to provide organic content while enhancing the biological state of the soil.
It inhibits the growth of weeds, holds the soil together during heavy rains and assists in locking in the moisture in the ground. Compost and mulch are added to the vineyards in preparation for Spring. As usual this is also a time for general maintenance of the trellis wires and poles before the final winter pruning. So, although it may appear that all is quiet in the vineyard, you may hear the whispers in the winter vines… whispers of the next dream vintage on its way!