It's February 16 and the pruning in our vineyard was just completed today. In the photo, you can see the brush pulled from the trellis carefully placed in the middle of the vine rows so, when the mower comes through, it will get chopped up and re-incorperated into the soil. Each year, the timing of pruning has nuances according to the previous harvest dates, the amount of the crop, the anticipated coming harvest dates and the anticipated harvest tonnage. Also, not to be left out, is the weather during pruning season. There are a few fungal diseases that can seriously injure grapevines if they are pruned in the early rainy season. This is particularly relavent to "cordon " pruning as in this photo. This is because the pruning wounds are so close to the main trunk of the vine and a fungal spore may enter at that point and cause some serious problems.
So here we are in another weird winter trying to map out another great harvest. It seems so simple and grapevines are pretty tough plants, really. But we're not simply trying to grow some grapes. This is all about optimization, about trying to hit a target dead-on much later in the year. This is a quest to have the vine in perfect balance from pruning (number of growth points) to nutrients and vine vigor to balancing the total leaf canopy to match the perfect number of clusters of fruit and, all the while, having a perfect supply of water to eek out the last traces of energy in the vine on the last lap before harvest. At that point, like last year, the vines are pretty much done as the grapes stumble across the finish line. Ahhhhhh.
Meanwhile, as I walked around today having a look at the pruning work and eyeballing the amount of brush in the vine rows (which is a measure of relative vine vigor), I also found these. (double-click to play)
I hope that I didn't just crash your computer with my test video. These are Chantrelles and I have a little secret place here that I check periodically. With the recent rains and a little warming, many varieties of mushrooms have come out. Fun and sometimes delicious! I know what we're having for dinner tonight.