There’s something extremely satisfying about removing a year’s worth of growth from a grapevine. Pruning is aggressive work. If you leave buds in the wrong places or fail to prune them away altogether, you get a big, green surprise in summer – too many canes and hence too many leaves. This leads to little airflow within the canopy which provides the perfect environment for one of our major enemies (especially when farming organically) throughout the growing season – Fungus. Additionally, the more buds you leave on the vine in winter will naturally increase the amount of fruit the vine has to ripen in summer. This leaf to fruit ratio is very important in a cool region like the Mosel.
Being the only Australian making wine in these parts, there is plenty of playful banter between myself and my colleagues. “Oh no, what’s the Aussie doing to that vineyard?” Well, the lads are in for a laugh in 2011 when they find multiple pruning methods within a vineyard…..ten rows of cordon (rarely seen here), ten of cane pruning and some traditonal heart-shaped vines mixed in with “Kron-schnitt.” I’m not out to make a mockery of the viticultural practices here but rather adopt all practices and determine which method works best. It will also be interesting to see the parameters obtained during vintage next year. Enough chat, lets get snipping!!