Upon reflection, that title sounds a bit dirty. I guess I do get a bit grubby as I crouch down to remove unwanted vine shoots or “suckers” from the trunks of the wines. We don’t want these new shoots to take away any of the nutrients and attention from the main vines from which our grapes will grow. In addition to removing these enthusiastic shoots, we also want to thin the vines a bit to avoid overcrowding and facilitate picking the eventual ripe grapes. The vines also need to be “tucked” so that they grow straight upright (like soldiers at attention) and allow for full growth and ease of picking.
I admit to being a complete amateur and to having accidentally broken off a few shoots during this process. For now, I am leaving the tucking and thinning to our experienced vineyard staff while I focus on the suckering and removing any pernicious weeds that grow alongside and into the vines.
The wet spring followed by some sun sent everything into a growing frenzy and we returned from Tofino to a veritable jungle. This has make it challenging for our vineyard staff to work the wines with the long grass and weeds taking over between the rows. Things are much better now since mowing and the consistent sun and warm temperatures have slowed the regrowth to some degree.
The sunny conditions are also necessary if the grapes are to catch up this year. The long winter and wet spring have set them back about two to three weeks but they can rebound if we get steady hot weather in July and August – fingers crossed.