Greg Schultz
March 21, 2015 | Greg Schultz

Pruning and Layout

We just completed our very first pruning!  Last year we planted a little over an acre of Tempranillo vines.  It took the two of us several afternoons to prune our way through the 2,000 plants.  As most of the dormant vines were quite small, pruning consisted of "2 budding" them.  This means that the vines were cut way back so that only 2-3 buds were left above the grafted union.  Perhaps 5% of the vines had grown substanitally enough (pencil thick diameter) and were strong enough that they could be trained to the fruiting wire.  These may produce a small crop this year, although we are undecided if we will let them do so.  Young vines need to put their energy into developing solid plant material, not in producing grapes.

Pruned vines next to steel pencil rods.

Most of the cuttings were quite short; however, some were 6-8 feet in length.  In celebration of our first pruning, Debbie is making "estate" wreaths.  Some of the cuttings are quite pliable, while others have to be soaked in water for a few days to re-hydrate so that they can be formed without breaking.  Great Christmas gifts!

Debbie holding up her first (and biggest) wreath.  

With the pruning completed, we got back to the vineyard layout and we just finished!  It was a lot of work, but made easier by having rain-softened soil for the past month.  We pounded in 740 8' steel line stakes and placed 3,800 steel pencil rods at future plant locations in 50 rows 7 feet apart.  Most rows are 380 feet long, with shorter ones along the eastern side of the vineyard, giving us space for 4,500 additional vines.  In all, the vineyard has 103 rows, covers 5 acres, and will eventually contain 8,000 vines. Whew!

Looking from NE to SW in the new part of the vineyard.

There is still a lot of work to do to get ready for this June's arrival of 2,000 Malbec plants.  For the next phase, we'll call in the pros at Applegate Vineyard Management--a future blog, perhaps...


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