Pruning The importance of pruning

On a grape vine, fruit develops on the one-year old growths, as the buds to develop this fruit are formed within the shoots during the previous season. Fruiting shoots, therefore, must be replaced every year to clear out old shoots and make room for the new growth.

Each year, pruning, the process of removing the aged wood, results in the removal of 80-90% of the previous year’s growth. In addition to clearing space for the new season’s shoots, pruning helps control the overall size and form of the vine and optimizes the production and quality potential of the new season’s fruit.

The amount of old wood cut off largely influences the vigor and vegetative balance of the vine. Each vine only has a certain amount of energy it can spend growing shoots and ripening crop. The more wood removed, the fewer fruiting buds remain for the new season, and the more vigorous each shoot will grow. Excessive pruning, however, can lead to an overgrowth of leaves, creating shading and canopy issues for the crop, and fruit that ripens too easily and quickly, without full flavor development. On the other end, pruning too sparingly leaves many fruiting buds for the season. As a result, the vine is overloaded and must divide its limited energetic resources to grow many shoots and ripen a large crop. This can result in fruit that struggles to reach optimal ripeness, and does not reach proper balance of flavor development.

Pruning is a true balancing act, largely determining the quality and quantity of the fruit before a single cluster is developed. With this in mind, our phenomenal Vineyard Manager and Sonoma Coast guru Ulises Valdez meticulously prunes our Boars’ View vineyard each winter down to the very best canes, carefully and masterfully selecting the optimal buds to lead to a season of perfectly balanced growth potential. With the success of a vintage largely influenced by crucial pruning before the first leaf bursts forth, we are truly grateful to Ulises and his team for their meticulous, dedicated year-round work.