Excerpt from our Spring Newsletter.
There is an air of new beginnings afoot at the Winery during the springtime. Perhaps it is cliché to say, but it is truly a time of rebirth and renewal in many respects. In our vineyards, we are pruning – cutting away last season’s growth in order for each vine to produce again. In our vine nursery we are grafting new vines and shipping finished plants out to vineyards. And of course, early springtime is where we see the preceding vintage’s first complete wines emerge, and we begin bottling our 2017 releases!
The majority of our pruning takes place throughout the month of March. Our approach remains fairly consistent, and is adjusted based on the severity of the winter. We implement a cane pruning technique and a German training style called halbbogen. The previous season’s growth is pruned back and either one or two fruiting canes are selected to produce for the upcoming vintage, each with 6 to 8 buds. We make a practice of leaving an extra “insurance cane” until the threat of frost has passed and depending on the health of the buds, it is removed in late spring. What looks to an untrained eye like a complicated tangle of vines is transformed into a neat and tidy plant. With all of our vineyards pruned, our vines are looking as ready for some warm weather as we are!
Meanwhile in our Nursery, we are grafting vines. The two parts of a grafted vine are its rootstock (usually a resilient native species) and its budwood (Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc etc.). Cuttings of each are collected in the winter. They are joined (i.e. grafted) via cuts resembling pieces of a puzzle. A full growing season in the vineyard follows grafting to ensure robust root systems develop. We then pull the new vines out of the ground and store them during the winter months. Around this time each spring, we will ship the vines to arrive at their final destinations – farms and vineyards all around the country that are beginning their own vineyard endeavors.
Vineyard and Nursery work are crucial facets of our Springtime efforts. March is also a time where we see the first finished wines from the previous vintage. Throughout harvest, fermentation and blending, we watch these wines take shape – but there is something truly special about viewing the complete product; bottled and labeled for the first time. There is a certain pride we take in seeing all of the work that has occurred up to this point manifest in a bottle of wine.
So pardon the “Springtime is for new beginnings” anecdotes, but hey! At least we didn’t write about cleaning!