On display at Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery are twelve wood carvings – one for each month of the year – each depicting an important part of the winemaking lifecycle. We’re diving into each month and where winemakers have traditionally kept their focus during that time in our editorial series, The Vintner’s Calendar.
Sebastiani’s Vintner’s Calendar wood carving for January illustrates the process of pruning.
Every year, grape vines need to be pruned to keep the vines healthy. Pruning refers to cutting the vines to ensure that they grow. By January, the vines are dormant which means they are not growing fruit or going through any sort of growing process. This is the most opportune time to prune the vines.
Pruning is also a way to control the vines. Not only does it make them look orderly, it helps with preventing fungus and disease. Generally, you will need a sharp pair of pruning shears (‘secateurs’ in French) to get the job done. It’s very important to get a clean cut for the best results.
Pruning influences the taste and quality of the wine in your glass. When the vines are pruned, they start to produce high quality grapes. Year after year, the vines develop less fruit, but the quality of the grapes becomes greater. That’s why “old vine” wines tend to be more expensive, but have excellent flavor payout.