Greg Schultz
March 26, 2016 | Greg Schultz

Pruning and the Press


We started our pruning on March 5th. Some local vineyards completed their pruning in February; others won't start until April. The timing of pruning is based upon last expected frost date and manpower logistics. We decided to start with our last row and work our way back. Rows 41 - 68 are planted to Malbec, and the vines are entering their second growing season. With our vast pruning experience (one year!) we felt confident in the "two-bud" pruning these young vines need. For 95% of the Malbec vines, we pruned all the way down to where only two or three buds were left on the vine, which is all the growth the young vines can handle this year. The other 5% showed substantial growth from last year and were pruned higher.

Malbec pruned down to two buds (a cutting in background)

After spending five days pruning the Malbec and four days participating in the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic, it was time to start pruning the Tempranillo vines. These vines are entering their third growing season and require two-handled loppers and muscle power to remove the large canes. This pruning also requires extra thought and attention as we are beginning to train the vines for this and next year's harvest, and for the future shape of the vine trunk. This time of spring in the Applegate Valley can range from sunny in the 60s to snowy in the 30s. We worked in sunshine, rain, and sleet!


On a beautiful spring day, snow-capped mountains in distance accent the Tempranillo vines waiting to be pruned

After a few rows, we developed an effective work process: Debbie worked ahead with the loppers and removed 90% of last year's growth; Greg followed behind with the hand pruners to select the cane to keep for this year and to leave a two-bud spur for next year if available. As this blog is being written, we have completed 30 rows and are pleased with our progress. 

Debbie demonstrates her Boomer Sooner Pruner technique

With six rows remaining, we are one day closer to a harvest...


In the past year or so, the southern Oregon wine region has garnered the attention of several national and international publications. In July of 2014, Rachel Levin documented her travel adventures in our area in the New York Times article "Only Hours From Napa, but a World Away". Later, Sunset Magazine published a "Local's Guide to Southern Oregon Wine Country" capturing highlights of our emerging region. And most recently, Wine Enthusiast has listed us in their 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2016 in the world. Quite impressive, but not surprising to those of us who love this beautiful region.

On a more personal note, has recently reviewed three of our wines. Our 2013 Grace Pinot Gris is a "Best Buy" with "tones of toast, butterscotch and honey with apricot and Asian pear... fervent lime acidity and lingering minerality". Our 2012 Mission Viognier is "Excellent" and is described as having "notes of stone fruit, citrus, cardamom and hazelnut as the pleasing mouth feel finishes with minerality and a snappy finish of lime". Lastly, they rated our 2012 Freedom Pinot Noir as "Outstanding"  with "entrancing aromas leading with light toast and chai spices amid fruitiness akin to black cherry, raspberry and blueberry". Read each of the articles to learn more and to discover some tasty food pairing ideas.


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