Vineyards across the Central Coast are barren and dormant for the winter season, but that doesn't mean that the work is done for vineyard managers.
There is still an essential part of the vineyard cycle that is currently going on. It's called pruning. Workers go through each vine and cut almost all the extra wood growth from the previous grow season.
Jim Stollberg, vineyard manager of Riverbench Vineyard & Winery says, "pruning is where we come through and take last year's growth and cut it back so we can renew that growth."
The way each vine is cut is crucial for how the grapes will grow over the year.
"That really sets where the clusters are on the vine," says Stollberg. "If they are inside the canopy, if they are exposed."
It doesn't matter if you're talking about a pinot or a chardonnay, every vine gets pruned during the winter. But younger vines are cut much differently than the older vines.
"Every vine is different," says Stollberg. "The workers have to go through and look at each vine on its own and decide how to prune it."
Stollberg says the way vines are cut largely depends on what happened the previous grow season. The cold winter season experienced on the Central Coast this winter is benefiting the pruning process.
"We're looking at last years growth, last years yields and quality of the wine and taking that information and applying it to this year's pruning to hit those targets," says Stollberg.
The pruning process begins in January, and depending on the size of the vineyard, can stretch into late February.
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