Suckering

May 7, 2012

 

 

 

Today we began the process of ‘suckering’ in our vineyards. Suckering is a process where any unwanted shoots, or ‘suckers’, that have sprouted from the vine are removed. This is our first step towards shaping the canopy of the vine; suckering lets us leave the correct number of shoots, and allows us to choose their placement, so that the canopy is not too dense or too open.

An overly dense canopy will put too much shade on the fruit, resulting in vegetal flavors and a heightened risk of bunch rot during harvest. Alternatively, too much sun will leave the fruit exposed, possibly resulting in ‘sunburn’ (dry, hard, brown patches of skin), which can also have an adverse effect on wine quality.

The idea is to keep the canopy sized just right, open and airy with plenty of dappled sunlight over the fruit. Here is an example of what a vine looks like before suckering.

This is a Cabernet Sauvignon vine from the Foxtrot block. Note its bushy appearance, this is the result of an excess of buds pushing.

And here is what the same vine looks like after suckering is done.

See how the canopy is a little less dense, a little more open than it was before. We will still probably thin the canopy out a few more times over the course of the season, once the canopy has filled back in a little, but for now this vine is shaped just right.

It’s a lot of work to tend each vine by hand like this, but it’s a necessary part of making excellent fruit, which is in turn a necessary part of making outstanding wines.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

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2 Responses to “Suckering”

  1. Lucie Demers said

    Keep making outstanding wines. Thank you
    for this information. We love to see how every
    week is a different one for you and a better one
    for Amapola Creek. What a team.

  2. […] From the vines’ point of view, the best thing it can do is get as large as possible. Since we removed a number of shoots from the vines earlier this year, they are now trying to compensate by pushing […]

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