Have you ever worked in a vineyard? We have a small vineyard at our house. It was planted just a little bit before we started to build the house. That should give you a hint about my husband’s priorities.
This morning, while it was cool, i decided to have a go at trimming the vines. The grapes are a bit behind this year. The set was good, because the weather was dry when the grape flowers opened. But, then the weather turned cool and stayed that way.
Anyway, i thought i knew how to trim back grape vines, you know, just cut them back. Well, after all these years, i learned a bit more. Thing is, that knowing these few things made a difference in what i cut.
I found out that these leaves only process the sunlight to energy for around sixty days. And of course the older leaves are much bigger and darker than the new leaves and they tend to shade the grapes too much, as grapes need the sun to ripen.
I also learned there is something called a “second set,” where new flowers try to form new bunches. These can really drain a lot of energy that should be going into the grapes.
The next little bit of information was that that each grape cluster needs ten leaves to provide for it.
And the last thing i learned was the reason for why i have always cut the new growth off of the tops of the vines. I was informed that they can cast shade on the grapes of the next row.
So as i was cutting, i was thinking of these things. Cutting back the large dark leaves from around the grapes, picking away the little flower bunches (lots of perfume for such a small flower), trimming back long growth off the top of the row, picking back other big, old leaves farther up (but not too many), and either cutting-off or tucking-in vines that were growing out sideways because they shade the grapes.
I thought that maybe this would possibly help our grapes to ripen, since they are so far behind this year.
There were also grape plants in the columbia gorge that got frozen this winter, and they will not produce a crop at all this year.
I have a few more rows to go. Tomorrow morning, perhaps.