What is happening in the vineyard other than leaves falling off trees?
If you have visited our vineyard, (or any vineyard) during the winter months, you will notice that the vines look barren and dead. Much to the contrary! The winter months in the vineyard are greatly overshadowed by the lush vibrant growing season from spring until fall, however, winter is actually a very important aspect to prepare the vine for the upcoming growing season.
After harvest, a vine breaths a heavy sigh of relief as it is no longer stressed with producing fruit. Sometimes there can be secondary growth popping up as the vine starts to slow down for the winter.
The vine will start its shut down dormancy process as the weather cools. The important thing for any field is to make sure you provide the proper environment for the vine to have a peaceful and productive winter. A vine is still alive during the winter, but not growing. Before the first frost hits it is important for a vine to store enough energy in its trunk and root system. This energy helps the vine through the winter months and will make it stronger in the Spring when all the energy is used to start the vine growing again. The winter months are also a great time to go in and eradicate weeds and repair the trellis system for the next growing year.
In the area around the vineyard it is important to create a good environment to handle the elements. We always hope for a very rainy winter each year. You want the ground to be able to absorb as much fresh rain water as possible, but not so much that it will wash away all the topsoil with erosion. Cultivating the soil to make it absorb like a giant sponge is important! This year we are planting a cover crop to provide additional help to prevent erosion.
Another critical aspect during the winter months is pruning the vine. You want to remove the canes from the vine to concentrate the growth that will come in the spring to just a few buds. Pruning the canes on a vine is vital to establish concentrated growth along the proper trellis area. It also helps to create a more manageable canopy for commercial grape production.
Though the vineyard sleeps in the winter months, the vineyard manager never does!