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Grapevine Trimming Now

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Runningwolf

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It's that time of year, you start seeing workers out in the vineyards trimming. In the picture below is a group of folks from Cornell research Center trimming vines. The areas they trim are for research purposes. The vineyards all around are bustling with workers doing maintenance and trimming. Keep in mind though not all grapes are trimmed now. It is mostly natives and vineyards that are so large they couldn't possibly get it all done in the spring.

 

derunner

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Would vinyards look for volunteers or is it too much of a bother for them? Id really like to retire to a small farm or at least 5-10 acres. So it would be possible to have a much bigger garden and perhaps an acre of vines. I'm thinking volunteering some saturdays may be good way to learn about care of the grapes and get you a chance to buy some juice. Do you think vinyards would be interested?
 

dessertmaker

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Go ask. What's the worse they're gonna say? No?

I buy all my homebrew supplies from a local winery. The guy who works there told me he is "retired" but he went to the winery one day when one of the owners was there and started asking questions to help improve his brewing skills. He said the next thing he knew they had hired him to do the winery tours.

Now he hangs out there all day and talks to people. It gives him something to do and he gets paid.

Then again there are some business owners who won't even give you the time of day. Every business does things differently.
 

Runningwolf

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Derunner, I think they would be happy to have you help. There is a lot more then just trimming. The workers usually have several rolls of colored tape with them also. They are looking for old tired vine stocks to see if they should start a new runner and also kiciking posts to see which ones need replaced along with wire. Colored tape or ribbon is placed there so later in the season they can come back and do the additional maintenance. I know little about the vineyards at this point and this is just from my observation. Grapeman would be able to tell you so much more.

Yes, go ask to volunteer. I'm sure the farmer will reward you in more than just education.
 

Sacalait

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You stated that some varities should be pruned in the spring. Why wait until then if the vines are dormant now?
 

grapeman

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No reason to Sacalait when you are in Louisiana.

When in colder areas, you can wait until the coldest of the winter is past. That way if you have more than normal bud freezing and damage, you can leave some extras to allow for the dead ones.
 

K-9

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The last few years i go in in the depth of winter - say january - even though it is cold and my fingers have been frostbitten for years so it is tough... but i go in and rough prune - cut back to maybe 5 buds or 6 buds. clean up the bulk of the mess and then when spring hits i can go back in and fine-tune the spurs. Makes it easier for me and quicker. I have a big garden - 90 vines and many fruit tress espaliered plus hundreds of trees and shrubs here so my work is intense at that Spring time of the year. Plus some animals too. You just have to wait until you have some serious frosts and they are really dormant and just not 'almost' dormant...

I tend to work outside here all winter which means all year. There is so much to do and chores that have to be done that i am constantly picking at stuff whether it be chipping brush, cutting and splitting and stacking firewood, or just mending of electric fences or other stuff.
 

Runningwolf

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Thanks for the answers guys. I am no expert and always thought they waited till the depth of the winter to prune also until I started working in the grape country. Like I said the good or best wine grapes they hold off on pruning. Most of the trimming are dropped on the ground then swept to the center of the rows with brushes on the front of the tractors. The tractors are also fitted with a flail mower on the back that then chops them all up. Most grape farmers are very particular about keeping the vineyards clean and neat looking. I never realized how much goes into from irrigation to dusting. Also from maintaining grass between rows during wet and normal years to absorb water to rototilling between rows during dry years so the vines aren't competing for water. Again I'm not the expert just an observer and ask questions.
 

K-9

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How many vines do you have? The two stage approach works the best for me - tried it all one year in the spring and it was taxing on me and the back and the arthritis.
 

Runningwolf

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I personally don't have any but there must be 1000 acres around me. Welches is also near by.
 

K-9

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I am from WNY and have had gigs in Erie so i know the area.
 
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