Late October. We are sitting on the porch and enjoying a crisp fall day.
Jed: ”Don’t you think it’s time to prune the vines?”
Me: “No it’s too early. We’ll do the winter pruning next year.”
Jed: ”But can’t we get a jump on things and do it now?”
Me: ”Both the vineyard managers I worked with did their pruning in winter.”
Jed: “Well, that doesn’t mean there aren’t vineyards that prune in the fall.”
Me: ”OK, so you can point them out to me.”
Driving past Heritage Vineyards the following week.
Jed: ”Look. Heritage has pruned their vines.”
Me: “Those aren’t pruned vines.”
Jed: “They look pruned to me.”
Me: “Look again Those aren’t pruned vines.”
Jed: “I can’t look again. I’m driving.”
Me: “Well, those were not pruned vines.”
Jed: “…….yes they were.”
It’s late November. We head to Spain for Thanksgiving, on the Costa del Sol, where there are lots of olive orchards, and avocado orchards, and vineyards. Thanksgiving Day and we are driving to Seville.
Jed: “Cool. And those vines look pruned.”
Me: ”Hmm. I see canes.”
Jed: ” No, I think this vineyard has been pruned already. We should start pruning when we get home.”
Me: “It’s too early to prune.”
We pass another vineyard.
Me: “Jed, here’s another vineyard. Slow down so we can get a closer look.”
Jed: “OK. See, look how it’s all been cut down.
Me: “No. I think the Spanish just grow their vines differently, with small trunks and canes that start lower to the ground.”
Jed: “Becca, take a photo so we can see who’s right when we get home.”
Back in New Jersey. Driving back from the airport, past another small vineyard.
Jed: “See that? Another vineyard, and it’s been pruned!”
Me: ” I see the vineyard, and I also see that it has not been pruned! “
Jed: “You’re wrong. I think it’s time to prune.”
Me: ”I may be wrong, but I’m the vineyard manager, and I say it’s too early. But if you’re bored I have some things for you to do.”
Jed: “That sounds like you have an ulterior motive.”
Me: ” That’s always a possibility.”
Jed: ” Or maybe you don’t trust me pruning.”
Me: “That’s an even stronger possibility. Besides, you did most of the spraying this year, so it’s my turn to put some labor in.”
Jed: “Well, that may be true, but I still want to help prune.”
Me: “OK. But it’s still too early.”
Jed: “OK. But you said it was a winter pruning, so we could start right after Christmas.”
Mid-January. Sunday morning, having coffee and listening to the cold wind outside.
Jed: ”So it’s now past Christmas. Must be time to prune now.”
Me: ” It’s still a bit early. Usually it’s around March that the winter pruning happens.”
Jed: “We could get a jump on it if we started now.”
Me: “Yeah, but I think leaving the canes on protects the trunks from frost damage. So you want to trim just before the bud break.”
Jed: ”That’s a long way off.”
Fortunately, the wind had brought down another dead tree at the back of the barn. The tree was so big our electric chain saw could not get through it and it died trying. Jed headed out to get another chain saw. It was big enough to do the job., even though the log rolled down the hill part way through the job. So Jed was occupied for the rest of the day.
Of course, it still needs to be chopped into firewood. Only six more weeks to keep him occupied. Sigh. Ah, but the pruning shears all need to be sharpened. And oiled. The tractor will need to be tuned up.
Or I can always plan another vacation.