Friday, December 12, 2008
Vinodog 1 and I just took our daily constitutional, (V2 went for a ride with her dad). I took along my camera as I had noticed yesterday that the vineyard over the road was undergoing an annual ritual, pruning, or rather pre-pruning. I was surprised when I saw this for two reasons. Firstly, most vineyard workers have already left for Mexico for a month long Christmas holiday but there some were, pruning and chatting away. Secondly, pruning before the winter rains have even begun in earnest can invite nasty pathogens, e.g. Eutypa lata, that are delivered onto the pruning wounds by the aforementioned precipitation. Admittedly pre-pruning means the skilled pruners will come back late in the winter or early spring and make the final cuts/selections so that any infected wood would be removed. Still, it all seems a little hasty, especially for Far Niente, whose Chardonnay vineyard this is. Considering their lofty reputation, and the price of their wines, I would have thought they would have delayed pruning as late as possible. I would expect most high end wineries to employ cultural practices that aid in the reduction of disease or damage to their vines. I do, but my vines are not cordon trained like theirs, they are head trained, a training system that further minimises infection. I believe delaying pruning would probably be the better farming practice but then again, I just may be lazy.