Vineyard Maintenance

Pruning Your Backyard Vineyard Pruning grape vines during dormancy is a vital practice for keeping your vines in balance. Grape growers discovered thousands of years ago that cutting off up to 90 percent of the previous year’s growth from a dormant vine will limit the crop and vegetative growth of the vine in the following season, increasing the quality of the wine made from the vineyard. Simply put, pruning promotes balanced vines for making good wine. The last thing we want as home winegrowers is to have a sprawling, unkempt monster vineyard in our backyard that hides fruit from sun and wind. Balanced vines depend on competent pruning, and it is my intention to offer the WineMaker readership the basic foundations and theories that govern this age-old vineyard practice. Viticulturists stress that all successes or failures in any given growing season depend first and foremost on the success of pruning. Pruning is the foundation that supports (or ruins) the entire year’s grape crop and wine. Why is pruning so vital for producing good winegrapes? What pruning options are available for