Pruning the Grape Vines to Prepare for Spring Growth
by Quincy Barton
Spring is almost here. With the approach of spring, the grape vines are preparing to come out of dormancy with the onset of bud break. In preparation, the Fall Creek crew is hard at work pruning the vineyards. Winter pruning is an essential process that must occur annually in order to produce a good crop this season, as well next year. There are two big reasons that it is essential to prune the vines before spring growth: 1. to ensure the vines structure are trained to grow properly, and 2. to appropriately balance the crop growth with the leaf canopy growth.
It is during the first few growing seasons that the structure of the vine is formed. After this is established, an annual maintenance of pruning off canes from the previous growing season is required to ensure that healthy fruiting canes develop this growing season; fruit will only grow on new shoots from one-year-old canes.
To ensure a sound structure for the vine, a strong trunk must be created by training a healthy shoot upwards on the vertical wire/post until it reaches the bottom-most horizontal wire. The next season, the two strongest and best-positioned lateral shoots should be tied down to the horizontal wire to form the cordons, or arms, of the vine. The shoots that grow off the cordon are trained upward and held in place by more horizontal catch wires. This is the training method we employ at Fall Creek’s Oxbow Vineyard in Driftwood, which is called VSP, or Vertical Shoot Positioning. Once the vine is correctly trained, winter pruning transitions into a more maintenance-driven role.
At Fall Creek in Driftwood, some of our younger Carignan vines are still being trained to their more established structures; however, the older Cabernet Sauvignon vines are one year more mature and ready to bear a high yielding fruit crop. Stay tuned to hear about bud break which we expect in the next few weeks as Spring blossoms.
Celebrate Spring with a Progressive Vineyard Dinner
To celebrate the arrival of Spring, Fall Creek is partnering with two Texas Hill Country friends in a progressive dinner on March 28, 2019. The evening will start at Thurman’s Mansion overlooking Salt Lick Vineyards with the first three courses prepared by Scott Roberts and Salt Lick BBQ. We will then transition to Fall Creek Vineyards at Driftwood to enjoy the next four courses of Texas Hill Country Cuisine prepared by Chef Bryan Gillenwater of Bryans on 290. We will enjoy the bounty of the two vineyards as pairings to the delicious progressive meal. Join us to see the vineyards in their Spring glory and to celebrate the end of this rather chilly and wet winter! The menu and tickets are available on our Fall Creek Vineyards website.