Cold Winter Greetings! Last month I described dormancy and our concern about primary bud death as a result of our sub zero temperatures. I am delighted to report that Mark Baehmann went out into the vineyard and collected buds from numerous blocks and we experienced almost no bud damage, which tells me that our vines were in good physical condition going into the cold weather. Naturally, this report is a great relief.
Our pruning efforts are moving ahead under the direction of Billy Hudson, our Vineyard Foreman. I am particularly pleased by Billy’s attention to spur spacing and maintenance of correct bud counts. When I speak of spacing, we are looking for the width of a hand between each spur rising from the horizontal part of the vine, the cordon. Bud counts are determined by evaluating the volume of last year’s canopy.
In cases where we had a full canopy, we are leaving two buds on the spur coming out of the cordon. In cases where the vine lacked vigor, we are leaving only one bud. We describe this process as creating the architecture of the vine for the following growing season. We have learned that spacing and bud count are vitally important to production levels. If we were to leave additional spurs at a growing location, it would result in multiple shoots in the springtime. Interestingly enough, the ultimate result would be less fruit even though there were more shoots. The same is true of leaving too many buds. By leaving just the right number of buds on a single spur with the correct spacing between spurs, the plant is able to focus its energy on the existing buds, producing larger clusters and the correct number of clusters per shoot.
Wintertime is quiet and picturesque around here, so it is a great time to come to Chaumette. Villas are available for overnight rental, and we have even more time to visit with guests in the Tasting Room this time of year. Join us for an overnight stay and a spa treatment, a Saturday evening dinner in The Grapevine Grill, an Indian meal at Chef Adam’s “pop-up” restaurant, Lambay’s India at Chaumette, or a romantic Valentine’s dinner next weekend. We look forward to seeing you soon!