Vines in modern California vineyards are typically pruned by either cane or cordon methods. For cane pruning, a vertical trunk is maintained, and during pruning, a new cane is chosen from the previous year's shoots near the top of the trunk and tied to a horizontal fruiting wire. It usually contains 10 to 12 buds that developed at different times in the preceding spring, with the weather affecting fruitfulness of each bud. In cordon-trained vines, the vertical trunk is extended horizontally permanently, with two bud spurs every six to eight inches. Cordon pruning is quicker, requires less skilled labor and is easy to prune mechanically. However, it has a drawback in cooler viticultural climates, as the earliest spring buds tend to have smaller clusters. This is particularly noticeable in Gewürztraminer, where the cluster size is unusually small and is influenced by the distance from the basal buds at the base of the cane. This is why we prefer an arced cane as it offers additional buds due to increased length; the final buds produce the largest clusters and the arc encourages mid-cane growth.
Frost protecting cordon vines after pruning. The horizontal trunks have a spur every six to eight inches. Each spur has been pruned back to two buds which developed at the same time during early spring in the prior season.
Cane pruning vines in our Marking Corral vineyard. The pruner selected one of last year's shoots at the top of the trunk, trimmed it to 10 buds and then tied it down to the fruit wire.
Our vines bore a modest crop in 2022 but fortunately the North Hill, replanted in 2015, came into full production and constitutes 25% of this bottling. Harvested at night, the cold fruit was destemmed then pressed without additional skin contact time. After natural clarification by settling, the juice was fermented and aged sur lie in French oak ovals. The wine hints of lychee, rose-petal, tangerine and ginger with a smooth texture and a spicy, dry finish. Double Gold Medal winner. 99 points.
Harvesting East Hill Gewürztraminer. Pickers wear a harness with a hook to hold their buckets so both hands can be used to harvest.