As if shoot thinning were not enough... (see May 2021 newsletter), we just started yet another quality driven job!
I'm often surprised when people don't realize all the off-season work that goes into winemaking. Sure, the picking and processing are exciting, but there's much more behind the scenes work going on, so I like to point it out when possible.
Removal of leaves that lay in the areas around the fruit can greatly affect the end result of a wine made from these grapes. The photo on the right is a close-up of thinned, leaf removed vines.
As interior and afternoon-shaded side leaves are removed, it creates an even better air and light environment for a bunch of grapes. Not only does this result in grapes that are less susceptible to various molds, mildews, and rot, but in red varieties especially, leaf pulling greatly increases the color and flavors of a finished red wine.
The trick for this job is to always remember that we still live in California. Meaning, the grapes need a little protection from the hot afternoon sun. So how do we accomplish this at Grand Island Vineyards?
Well... up until a couple years ago we did all this by hand, but I've shown in the past how a tractor mounted machine can do this now. We have workers target areas where more is needed or older vines that are not conducive to the machine work. Recently we just started leaf removal and thinning on white varieties, and here you can see the job our automation machines do on this chardonnay vine.