No one will remember, but back at the beginning of 2011 I had a viticultural epiphany. I decided I would focus all my pruning know-how towards altering the relative maturation rate of Vinoland's Clone 4 Cabernet Sauvignon (CS). I planned to do this by flipping the order of pruning the CS with that of the Syrah. I had no idea at that point that 2011 would turn out to be such a peculiarly cool year in which to try such an experiment. Roll on 2012.
This year has been the perfect growing season thus far - and it's nearly at an end. The past two weeks of sugar sampling has revealed a not before seen phenomenon in Vinoland: the °Brix in the CS is ahead of that in the Syrah. Today saw 24.2 °B in the CS and only 23.4 °B in the Syrah - the Syrah that is usually ready to harvest at least two weeks prior to the CS. Both grape varieties had progressed exactly 2 °B since this time last week. Of course, sugar is not the only factor in determining when the fruit is ready to be harvested, but it is a very useful indicator.
So eureka! Pruning a little earlier does indeed seem to bring about earlier phenological maturity. At least it does in my mini Petri dish that is Vinoland.