We will begin pruning Brianna and Sabrevois at Tassel Ridge Winery this week.
Each year at this time, we spray a lime-sulfur mixture on the trunks and cordons of our vines in order to kill any overwintering fungus spores that take up residence in the wood of the vines. This process is not unique to grapes. It is also done on most fruit trees.
Weather permitting, we will also start spraying herbicide under the vines to eliminate as much competition from weeds for water and nutrients as possible.
This week, we expect at least two nights and maybe three nights of cold temperatures potentially as low as 26–27°F. We will be happy to have some snow to provide insulation to the vines. At this time of year, many of our vine varieties are in various stages of budding out. Most are in what is called the “first swell stage” and the lowest projected temperatures won’t hurt them. But, some are already at the “full swell stage” and some of them will be damaged by temperatures of 26°F. We don’t have any vines that are at the “bud burst stage” which are even more susceptible to damage from cold temperatures. Generally, the less developed the buds are, the more resistant to cold temperatures they are. Furthermore, grape vines grow apically. That is, the most advanced growth is at the ends of the canes. So, the buds that are the most exposed are those at the ends of the canes and if they get damaged by frost, we can cut them off and still have almost full production from the buds further down each cane. That is why we engage in a two-step pruning process in our vineyards. But, we know that nothing is certain so we will be paying very close attention to what is happening in our vineyards this week.