Time to Remove the Suckers

We’re in the early stages of crafting our 2017 wines.  For wines prepared from grapes, it all starts in the vineyard.  An excellent harvest of grapes depends on good vineyard management.    In an earlier blog, I talked about pruning the vines while they are still dormant.  Well, once the vines start to grow in the spring, many of the grapevine varieties develop suckers. Suckers are new buds that produce shoots in the trunk of the vine.   If you look at Picture 1 below, you’ll see lots of shoots with leaves on the trunk that do not belong there.

Picture 1 – Vine with suckers.

First, these shoots (or suckers) take nutrients from the plant.  We want the nutrients to go to the upper vine where we want the fruit to grow and mature.

Secondly, in Ohio, we need to spray for mold and insects.   While we found we can’t grow grapes without spraying, we can do our best to limit the amount of spray and eliminating suckers is one way to accomplish that goal.  Otherwise, you’re using spray on shoots that will not be used in the production of grapes.

Today was a wonderful morning to be out in the vineyard working.   In just a few hours, we were able to remove the suckers from most of our vines.  Picture 2 shows the same vine as Picture 1 minus the suckers.

Picture 2 – Vine without suckers.

In addition to pulling the suckers, we have a great chance to inspect the vines.   We look for any winter injury or other damage.  They looked great today, so we are excited about our future 2017 vintage wines!




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