How to Balance a Vine
We prune every winter for a simple reason: balance. To ensure a good crop for the next season, we make sure that the vine’s energy for wood, new shoots, leaves, and grapes is in balance.
Below is a just-pruned Marquette vine. The woody branch is called a cordon, and it has been growing on that wire for a few years. Last summer, long shoots grew out of each of those nodes. When we pruned it yesterday, we left short spurs of last year’s growth, each with one bud. Each bud will grow another shoot this season, and will bear a few clusters of Marquette grapes this autumn. But we won’t taste the fruit if this labor until the wine is ready to drink in the fall of 2015. We’re used to delayed gratification around here.
If we’d left long shoots and extra buds, the vine would grow into a huge, unmanageable mass and its grapes would be poor. When we prune, we cut off excess growth and leave just the right number of buds to produce a crop that the vine can support. This work will last through March at the vineyard. We’re hoping for less ice and more sun.