Welcome Back! It is late spring here in Lake Chelan, Washington. We are in the Northern Hemisphere. I am reminding you about this because growing seasons are different in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Here, our growing season is pretty much March to the end of October.
I hope you saw our last video where you got to watch us prune this vineyard. We’ve had a tremendous amount of progress since then. Just look at all of these shoots and all of this vigor and all of this beautiful green stuff going on here. This is a great place to start going into the growing season.
What this means is that it’s time to do shoot thinning. We do this for three different reasons.
First, it’s our first chance at thinning the crop.
If you can get in here and take a peek, you’ll notice that these shoots are starting to form little clusters. These are the berries that will eventually develop into those beautiful purple clusters of grapes that we use at harvest time. We are looking to concentrate flavors, which means that we don’t want to carry every one of these clusters. We are looking for a certain amount of fruit on every single vine. By shoot thinning here, we are giving ourselves the first opportunity to drop some crop.
The second reason that we thin the shoots is that we’re concerned about air flow.
We want to have good air flow going through the vines, we don’t want to have any issues with mildew, and we want them to be happy, and breezy, and cooled off in the summer when they get that chance. You can see that these vines are way too dense to have great air flow.
The third reason is going back to what we talked about in the previous video when we talked about pruning.
We are now looking to space these shoots about a fist width apart. If you look at these shoots, you can see that this foliage is too dense. There is absolutely no way that there is a fist width in between these shoots. So the name of the game is that we are going to go through and pick some of these guys off and drop them.
Here is a good example. I have a little more than a fist’s width between these two. That means that I am going to go ahead and drop off or pull off one of these shoots. That leaves me space for another fist, and I’m going to come around to the back and do that again. We are dropping a ton of this foliage. In the end, it is going to give us the most beautiful crop and the best growing situation for these vines.
So once again, we are getting good air flow, and we are concentrating the flavor into the remaining grapes. That is how shoot thinning is done. We’ve gone through a lot of the vineyard by now. I’ll keep going, but I’m not going to make you stick around and watch as I work down this vine.
We’re going to take a minute and walk to another part of the vineyard so you can see what happens when we are done. I want you to see it because when a whole lot of this is done, the transformation is pretty dramatic. So let’s go.
Here we are in a row that’s already thinned. This is what the vines look like after the shoots have been thinned. You can see that now we are back to about a fist width apart. We are going to have wonderful air flow all summer long. Plenty of light is going to be able to get into each one of these clusters. We’ve also had our first pass at dropping a little bit of this fruit. That brings this vine, the whole vineyard really, into a better place. As I stated earlier, this also helps us in terms of the amount of fruit that we’re carrying and our ultimate tonnage goals as we go through the summer.
Here you are, a row that has been shoot thinned and it is ready for the next step in the growing season. We will be back in about a month to let you know what that is all about.