Summer Vineyard Tasks
So we all love wine, but to get wine you have to start with the grapes. The summer is a busy time for the grapevines as they are getting the grapes ready to be made into deliciousness. There are a few main things that vineyards are working on right now that as a wine lover you should be aware of.
Shoot Thinning - This is exactly what it says, you are thinning out the shoots (which look like branches). The biggest idea with shoot thinning is balancing the green/vegetative growth with the fruit/grape growth. To do that you cannot have too many shoots because keeping them alive and healthy takes a lot of nutrients from the plant; and a lot that needs to be focused on ripening the fruit. For medium quality red wine, a standard is to have 30 shoots per vine.
Leaf Pulling - Leaf pulling is also what it sounds like, go figure. This is especially important in North Carolina due to our humidity and rain during the summer. Leaves are pulled around the fruit for a couple reasons. First, you want the fruit to not be crowded around leaves because air will not flow through. Where the water remains and isn't able to dry, you have the hotbed of mildews and rots that will affect the fruit. Secondly, you want your fruit to have direct access to the sunlight to fully ripen the fruit.
Tucking - Grapevines by nature want to grow like a bush. But, when you see them in a vineyard they are growing all straight up and down, perfectly in the wires. This takes a lot of work! People manually go through and either take each shoot and put it in the wires by hand, or they move the wires to catch all the shoots. Regardless, shoots snap very easily so extra care is taken with tucking to make sure all the fruit remains.
When you drink your next glass of wine you can appreciate all the work that's going on right now to make your splendid beverage.