This weekend, Ulises’ guys came by and hedged the vineyard. Hedging is one of several canopy management practices we employ during the growing season, and it is just what it sounds like—you go through and prune the vines to eliminate excess vegetative growth from the top and sides in order to make a uniform canopy that looks like a hedge.There are several purposes for hedging. A practical one is that it gives the tractors a clear path through the vineyard rows. From a viticultural perspective, hedging insures uniform light exposure of the canopy. Exposing the grapes to dappled sunlight actually changes their chemical composition and eliminates “green” flavors. Hedging also allows for good air circulation around the ripening grape clusters to minimize the risk of botrytis and other fungal issues.
I also like hedging because it employs one of those Rube Goldberg-type machines that one tends to see in viticulture, and because I love the orderly symmetry of newly hedged vines. Check out the video:
In the next week or so, we’ll talk about vegetative growth vs. fruit growth, and why the conventional wisdom that smaller yields are always better is dumb. Won’t that be fun?