Pulling laterals

June 25, 2012




Now that we’re done cane positioning, we are transitioning over to pulling ‘laterals’. A lateral is a shoot that is growing out of a new bud on one of this years new shoots.

This is a lateral shoot, note how it has sprouted from a green shoot, as opposed to a dormant bud on one of the woody parts of the plant.

Grapevines like to grow. A lot. 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 laterals.

Montana Vista, the block of Cabernet Sauvignon near the top of the property, has several sections which are quite vigorous (the vines grow quickly), so the effect of lateral growth is most obvious there.

This is what the canopy looks like once the laterals start to grow out. Note how large and bushy the vines appear; in this state the canopy would provide too much shade for the fruit and the airflow around the fruit would be restricted, both of which favor the growth of mildew and would later interfere with ripening.

Once the laterals are removed, the vines start to look much as they did just after cane positioning, with the shoots trained more or less vertically, instead of growing out horizontally into the row.

This kind of hand-work in the vineyards is pretty much non-stop this time of year, the vines will continue to grow and we will continue to trim them back into the shape that will produce the highest quality wine. You can get an idea of how much the vines are growing by looking at how much vegetation has been discarded in the row. All of that is lateral shoots that have grown in the last couple of weeks.

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


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