Pruning for our Estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines began in late January, and finished by mid-February. While late pruning is better for disease resistance and can delay bud break, with the warm weather we have had thus far, vines are coming out of dormancy early so it was important to finish pruning expediently. This year properly timed pruning ended up being especially important as vineyards across California are experiencing very early bud break.
As many of you may know from your own backyard fruit trees, pruning is necessary to ensure the best quality of the fruit for the coming harvest. Each year grapevines produce new “canes” which will develop shoots to bear the fruit. As only one-year-old canes can bear fruit, each year we must remove older canes which no longer serve a purpose to the vine. By making the selections about where and how we prune the vine, we will be affecting everything about how the year’s crop will develop- no pressure there! Pruning is one of the great arts of grape growing that can never be mechanized due to the precision and careful selection of each cut.
Luckily at Regale, we were fully pruned in both of our Estate vineyards before bud break! First signs of bud break come when the tiny buds on the vine start to swell, then begin to sprout shoots and eventually develop grape leaves. We always love to see some green in the vineyard, although this early in the year can be a bit nerve-wracking! Some of our Estate Chardonnay vines in warmer spots have indeed begun to send out their leaves, as Spring is clearly upon us given the unseasonably warm and dry February we have been experiencing. If you haven’t been up to the winery lately, now is a great time to come check out the Estate Chardonnay vineyard, as vines are visible at each stage, from swollen buds all the way to actual foliage.