Once the harvest is in, the leaves have fallen, and photosynthesis ends we can begin our Winter work: pruning.
We use the Guyot single system where we trim off everything except for one spur and one cane. The cane buds develop into the grapes for the next harvest, and spur buds will grow into shoots for the following year. Pruning prepares the vines for the next growing season.
When the weather gets warmer, the sap begins to flow through the vines, and small buds make their appearance. The cover crops are growing, and the vineyard blooms with life. Throughout the Spring, daily growth is astounding.
It is often the summer months that determine the quality of the harvest. Sunny, hot summers produce full, juicy grapes that burst forth with flavor. Vintages during summers with rain have a lower sugar content.
Autumn means harvest. Excitement is in the air, clippers are counted, baskets are prepared, and friends arrive. Harvest is the culmination of a year’s labor of love in the vineyard. Since late summer we’ve been tasting grapes and taking Brix levels, a measurement of sugar concentration that determines potential alcohol content. In addition to sugar levels, taste, and intuition, we also plan the harvest in alignment with the lunar cycles, ideally to take place on a fruit day for a more vibrant and flavorful vintage. After the harvest, the vine leaves turn bright shades of gold, orange, and red. After the grape picking, the vines undergo tremendous root growth and absorb lots of nutrients to store for the winter. Nitrogen fixing cover crops are planted between alternating rows.