When vines are pruned, the growth from the last season is cut off except for a select bit which will determine where the vine will grow from this coming season. This keeps the vines in balance, creating the desired amount of fruit, and eases canopy management. Well-pruned vines will be healthier and less likely to develop problems like powdery mildew during the growing season.
The two most common types of pruning in Sonoma and Napa counties are Cane and Cordon. Each has different benefits and drawbacks, and the decision about which to use depends largely on location and management style. In the photo below, the vine on top has been cane pruned, and the vine on the bottom, cordon.
Cane pruning is often preferred for cooler, coastal vineyards, such as our Hillcrest estate vineyard. This is because the buds further along the cane developed later in the season with better sunlight, and will usually produce more fruit, helping to offset the usually lower yields of costal vineyards. Cordon, on the other hand, only makes use of the first two or so buds on each cane, therefore usually producing less fruit.
Pruning is hard work, especially with this beautiful weather we’ve been having. So if you know anyone working on a pruning crew, or any vineyard managers tearing their hair out trying to get all the pruning done in time, buy them a drink this weekend and remind them to take it easy!