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Pruning Grapevines is a Necessity


Jason's Vineyard pruning

Workers hard at work at Jason’s Vineyard pruning each grapevin

This week I received an email about pruning from Lis Neris, a winery in the Friuli region of Italy. A couple of years  ago we visited this fourth generation family winery and it’s always nice to receive an update from them.

This recent email from Lis Neris reflected on what is happening in the vineyards now. Every year pruning is a task that must be completed before the grape vines begin to show new life. Some vineyard managers and owners are very particular about the techniques used for pruning. We’ve had one winemaker and vineyard owner tell us that he had an inexperienced group pruning his vineyards, he had to take over and prune the vines himself. There is a lot of work in pruning. Workers can spend hours and days correctly pruning.

We’ve pruned our few vines each year. A few vines are fun to prune but think about the acres and acres of vineyards that many wineries own. Pruning is a big task and a very important task. Pruning can influence the size the of grapes and limit the number of grapes. Limiting the number of grapes tends to increase the quality of the grapes and ultimately the quality of the resulting wines.

One myth associates pruning with Aristaeus who considered pruning vineyards after seeing a goat nibbling grapevines. Another legend is that St. Martin stopped near a vineyard for a while and tied his donkey close to grapevines. When he returned to retrieve his donkey, he was devastated because the donkey had eaten down the nearby vines. However the following harvest  the vines produced prolific amounts of grapes. Today grape growers and winemakers know the importance of pruning grapes during the winter months. The two basic techniques include pruning spurs and pruning canes.

Lis Neris in Friuli, Italy

Lis Neris in Friuli, Italy

The email was about the particular pruning techniques at Les Neris. The Les Neris email included:

“Since many years Lis Neris has been adopting a pruning system based on two basic principles:

1)   avoid cutting the older portions of wood in order to reduce dimension and seriousness of wounds;

2)   guide the growth of the plant setting up a horizontal development of the head, two lateral branches will let the sap flow regularly on the whole trunk.

It’s clear that a continuous lymphatic flow keeps the wood healthy, and favors the longevity of the plants.

It’s all a matter of flow!”

Check out our article about a visit to Lis Neris.

Next weekend we will be spending a few hours with a Maryland winery and vineyard owner who will explain and show us his pruning techniques. We are looking forward to the experience and will post an article about it. Stay tuned!


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