We finished pruning our 20 acre vineyard last week and began helping our oldest son (Tyler) and his wife (Jessica) prune their 25 acres. They live about 15 minutes from us so we do not have too far to travel. We normally get to the vineyard by 10:00 am, work until lunch and then continue working until dark which is about 8:30 pm. It makes for a long day but we have a lot of fun working together. The time passes quickly with conversation, jokes and movie lines.
In our vineyard, the varieties of grapes (Aglianico, Montepulciano and Roussanne) have relatively late bud break, meaning the buds begin to open later in the season. Tyler and Jessica, on the other hand, have early bud breaking varieties. These include Vermentino, Merlot, Viognier, Trebbiano, Dolcetto and Muscato Giallo.
With the early spring temperatures of mid to high 80's, most of the early bud breaking varieties have budded. The above picture shows the buds and leaves popping out. While it looks pretty and lets you know that spring is here, it is also dangerous. We are still 4 weeks away from the average last frost for the west Texas area. That means that there is the danger that the buds will be frozen and fruit lost.
Below you can see the same plant after pruning. Pruning is used to shock the plant and slow down its push to put out buds and grow.
We are 1/4 of the way finished pruning in Tyler and Jessica's vineyard. Hopefully we will finish by the end of next week!