The Northern Grapevine

Grapevine Tendrils

Grapevine tendrils reaching toward the sun.

This hot June weather with plentiful rainfall stimulates vegetative growth in the vineyard including those pesky tendrils. As tendrils grow from the leaf axils, they twist and turn with wind and wrap around anything nearby. Tendrils expose new leaves to sunlight and promote healthy growth by attaching to other objects – leaves, shoots, and the trellis wires to create strength that curtails wind damage on tender new shoots. Later in the season, tendrils cause shoots to clump together and are a pain to detangle.

From June through harvest our crew spends a lot of time shoot thinning, pulling laterals and shoot combing in the vineyard. Tendrils have a lot to do with these canopy management jobs. Tendrils grow thicker and stronger as the growing season progresses, and they often need to be clipped with pruning shears to detangle shoots and remove lateral shoots from crowding the fruiting zone of the trellis. The fruiting zone is near the top wire in the trellis where the grapes grow and ripen. Canopy management is labor intensive but necessary to keep the grapes in mottled sunlight with adequate air movement to prevent disease and aid in ripening the grapes.

Canopy work is well worth it because we want healthy vines and ripened fruit necessary to make great wine.