On a beautiful morning last Thursday, Feb. 26, nine vineyard workers arrived at Gantz Family Vineyards to prune last year’s canes and get this year’s canes ready for the 2015 growing season. Our warm “winter” had caused several of our Pinot Noir vines to begin bud break, when green leaves begin erupting from the buds, so it was a relief to see the workers arrive. Cutting back the canes slows down the process of bud break and helps the tender green shoots stay in their jackets longer, safe from possible frost.
During our first two growing seasons, the workers were able to zip through pruning in a day. This year, with more vines on our 4.5 planted acres, it was somewhat gratifying to see that it was a slower process, that it took two days
Earlier, after a pre-pruning meeting with Kristin Lowe, our viticultural advisor and Jim Pratt, our new vineyard manager and owner of Cornerstone Certified Vineyard, and his operations supervisor Raymundo Calderon, we decided to leave three canes on our mature Calera vines, one more than the two we had last year. These vines have been very vigorous during our first two growing seasons, and we’re still figuring out vine balance with these rambunctious guys — more canes mean more buds and more buds will mean less vegetative growth and (we hope) a better set. Our calm and easy-going Pommard clones and our young Calera were pruned to two canes.
Our chardonnay was pruned back to two buds by Clay earlier this winter in anticipation of training trunks this year. We expect our first chardonnay harvest, which will be used for Clay’s personal use, next year.