THE IMPORTANCE OF PRUNING

Sculpting New Life in the Vineyard

Of all the work done on the vine during its life cycle, few tasks are as important as pruning. After all, proper pruning will determine the quality of the coming crop, as well as prepare the plant for the subsequent year.

 

 

Fent tasques de poda a Mas La Plana, propietat de Família Torres

Pruning vines at Mas La Plana, a Familia Torres property

 

 

But besides the obvious, why is pruning so necessary? In an effort at brevity, let’s take a look at five main reasons:

 

  • Reducing natural plant vigour so the vine focuses its energy on fruit production. Each variety has a specific level of vigour. Winegrowers have to adapt their work to the natural productive potential of each vine, carefully controlling its vegetative growth. If neglected, the vine will grow uncontrollably, even to the point of never recovering completely should its vigour be excessively high.

 

 

Realizando tareas de poda en Mas La Plana, propiedad de Familia Torres.

Pruning vines at Mas La Plana, a Familia Torres property

 

 

  • Controlling and limiting cluster growth to obtain the highest quality grapes. The way winegrowers control crop production is based on the number of buds they leave on the vine during pruning. As a rule, the bud count is kept the same as the year previous. If the vines are in a weakened state for whatever reason, the bud count is lowered, sacrificing part of the crop to allow the plants to regain their strength during the coming year. By contrast, if the vine displays excessive vigour, winegrowers will increase the bud count to reduce the amount of vegetative growth.

 

  • Finding the right balance between canopy density and crop load. In order to produce quality grapes, it is necessary to strike a balance between the vegetative and reproductive organs of the vine, between the green shoots and leaves and the inflorescences that develop and ultimately transform into clusters. Excessive vegetative growth takes resources away from the clusters, resulting in low sugar levels and improperly ripened grapes.

 

 

Trabajos de poda manual en el viñedo de la DO Penedès, propiedad de Familia Torres

Manual pruning tasks at a vineyard in DO Penedès, a Familia Torres property

 

  • Improving the sun exposure of the leaves and clusters. Adequate sun exposure is a decisive factor in attaining optimal fruit maturation, and an excessive amount of shade could provoke uneven ripening, with some clusters staying green while others ripen.

 

 

The UV rays have a direct impact on the skin of the grapes, encouraging the synthesis of tannins and pigments, as well as the various aromatic components present in the peel.

 

 

  • Facilitating vineyard tasks. Proper pruning keeps vegetative growth under control, encourages air flow, and exposes the fruit to enough sunlight.

 

 

Trabajos de poda en el viñedo de la DO Penedès, propiedad de Familia Torres

Pruning tasks at a vineyard in DO Penedès, a Familia Torres property

 

 

If you're interested in finding out more about pruning, we encourage you to watch our video in which Miguel Torres Maczassek (5th generation Familia Torres) walks you through a morning of pruning in our Penedès vineyards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, grapevine pruning really comes down to one principle: the search for vegetative and productive balance. Finding that balance requires knowledge and experience; the capacity to sculpt the vine so that nature bestows its favours on us.

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