As we awoke on the morning of June 2, 2012 we heard the patter of rain outside. This was concerning because that day was our third Winegrower’s Boot Camp Session. By 8:38am Stacy Hudson had e-mailed all of us assuring that the class was still on. The clouds were clearing and the day was turning beautiful as we were eagerly greeted by David Bova under the Vineyard Grille tent.
John Graziano’s viticulture seminar educated us all on the techniques of vertical shoot removal and shoot positioning. John expertly explained this is a critical procedure to provide the grapes with maximum sun exposure and air circulation while leaving enough leaves for maximum photosynthesis to occur. So many things to remember:
· Leave three canes at the base of the vines base and train upright so they can be possible 2013 fruiting canes.
· Remove non-productive and ineffective shoots, but leave enough for photosynthesis.
· Thin shoots out, but the Tocai variety vines only produce one or two fruit clusters per shoot (so the fewer shoots the fewer grape clusters).
With our new found knowledge and complete anxiety that we could ruin the 2012 crop we set out for Lollipop Hill. It was so exciting to see how large and healthy our vines were. We worried about them through the frost season, were so proud of them when they budded, and now they are maturing so beautifully. The initial thought of cutting them back was distressing, but it was for the greater good for the perfect wine. John, Dave and Paul guided us through our questionable moments, and then we were all engrossed in our work. As we left Lollipop Hill our vines were pruned and proudly positioned to capture the summer’s sun.
Our next stop was downhill across the lake to the Chardonnay vines. John showed us the flowering Chardonnay, and revealed to us that the clusters on the shoots will flower and following the flowers will be the fruit. John expects our Tocai to flower in a couple of weeks.
We concluded our afternoon at the Vineyard Grille with great wine, food and conversation.