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Winter Pruning

by Scott Shirley

Pruning season is well underway here at JUSTIN. This important part of managing a vineyard gives us a chance to optimize each vine's ability to produce the best fruit in the coming vintage. Much as you chose only the most important task you need to accomplish each day, we trim back all of the vine's extraneous growth from the previous year to allow it to do its best in the coming vintage. On our estate vineyards, we currently use two main types of pruning methods - spur pruning and cane pruning.

Spur Pruning

When we spur prune, there are two mature "arms" or cordons. All of the vine's growth will take place from the stubby spurs on the cordons. Spurs are the remnants of last year's canes that have been pruned leaving only two buds from which the next year's growth will sprout in the spring.

Cane Pruning

In cane pruning, we do not leave the older cordons on the vines, but save two canes that sprouted the previous year along with its buds, from which the new growth will develop in the spring. The two canes are attached to guide wires in the trellis system with wire twist ties.

Cover Crop

Between the vine rows are thick, verdant cover crops which have thrived on the rain we have received to date. Cover crops are an important part of our sustainable farming techniques that help us to reduce erosion, manage moisture in the soil, and provide nutrients without the use of fertilizers.