It’s amazing what kind of growth a vineyard has after it rains for nearly 2 weeks straight. The vines, which were little more that woody stumps a few weeks ago, have really burst forth with vigor. Each vine has dozens of tiny clusters of will-be grapes. When we say dozens, we mean that some vines may have as many as 30 or 40 clusters on it. You would think that would be a good thing, but the truth is, it’s way too many. So it is our job to go though the entire vineyard and thin out each vine by hand. We get rid of the shoots that come up from the base of the vine and thin out some of the clusters on each vine so that each plant can concentrate on making a few really great clusters of grapes instead of dozens of mediocre ones.
Our younger vines, like the Chambourcin here, get a much more extreme thinning. We pull all of the clusters off so that the vines can concentrate their efforts on establishing good root system. With a good root system, the vines are better equipped to withstand periods of dry weather in the future.
So you can see, thinner is better here in the vineyards.