It was bound to happen… well, after more than 25 years of trimming and pulling leaves by hand, we finally relented and bought mechanized equipment to save our workers from this drudgery.
Those of you who have taken our vineyard tours know how important canopy management is to wine quality. The summary: In order for the grapes to ripen fully, the vine must have the proper balance between fruit and leaves. This is done in three ways: 1) Pruning in the winter, 2) Canopy Management, when we shoot-thin (remove unwanted shoots from the vines), hedge and de-leaf, and finally 3) when we drop excess unripe fruit.
Canopy management is done when the vine is growing vigorously, between late April and July. It can be very time consuming and labor intensive. Shoot thinning is, for now, strictly a manual chore, but hedging and de-leafing can be mechanized successfully. In fact the machine does a better job than the guys can. This cool device attaches to our tractor and “pinches” the leaves between rotating drums. It does an amazing job. See the video for to see what I mean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QG5aE1McuE
The proof is in the pudding, er, wine. So we’ll have to wait until the 2013’s are in the bottle to see if the investment was worth it.
Here’s a photo. The pulling head is the perforated drum next to the black cylinder. The tall bar is attached to the tractor.
You can learn more about our vineyards, winemaking, and meet our winemaking team here.
As always, thanks for your support and we’ll see you at Ponte soon.