Vine pruning is the practice carried out by the viticulturist to reduce the vegetative part of the vine with the aim of limiting its natural growth and improving the yield and quality of the grapes.
The vine is a plant with a characteristic cycle in temperate zones that begins with budding in early spring and ends with leaf fall in autumn. It is important to point out that even respecting the natural biological cycle of the plant, every cultivated vine always has to be perfected in its evolution by the hand of man, hence a series of field practices, including pruning.
The vine is an arboreal, climbing plant with unlimited growth. so you have to control it. This is where the pruning technique is necessary in order to give shape to the vineyard and at the same time favor the correct development of the vegetation in general and of the fruit in particular.
The pruning process must be carried out at the right times. In the middle of winter the plant is in lethargy and vegetative rest, and it will be the right time for this work, in addition to the winter or main pruning, several prunings are made throughout the year, such as spring green pruning . Pruning is one of the most important operations for subsequently obtaining healthy grapes, ripe, and above all of quality, to make good wine.
In its natural state, the vine is a climbing vine whose branches, called vine shoots, can reach up to 30 meters in length. Only the buds located at the ends prosper because they receive more sap, and the buds located closer to the trunk do not sprout.
The production of fruits does not keep proportion with the leafy development of the vine. Although it produces numerous clusters, the grapes are small and do not ripen with difficulty, which is why their quality is very poor.The objective of pruning is to reduce the number and length of the shoots so that the vine produces fewer clusters., but thicker and better quality. Pruning lengthens the life of the vine and ensures the harvest from one year to the next. It also allows adapting the size of the plant to the space where it is grown to facilitate the tasks of the viticulturist.
When the vine is young and has just been planted, the first pruning determines the shape and type of growth of the plant. These vary according to the climate of the region and the type of strain or variety.
There are different types of formation pruning depending on the conduction or vine training system chosen. This type of pruning is usually done during the first three or four years, and always in winter and spring.
When the vine has reached its final shape, fruiting pruning is used to maintain the shape of the vine and control its growth.
The selection and reduction of the shoots and buds that sprout each year will allow the bunches of grapes to benefit from greater sunlight and better ventilation. This will increase their yield, their quality and their resistance to pests.
Winter pruning or dry pruning
It is carried out every winter, after the fall of the leaves and before the new shoots come out again, when the plant is in a vegetative or dormant state and the circulation of the sap has decreased.
It is used to eliminate the vine shoots from the previous season and cut down the wood that is two years old or more, and favors the regeneration of the plant.
It should not be pruned with temperatures that are too low because frost makes the wood brittle and it can splinter with the cuts. In addition, with temperatures below zero, the wood takes longer to heal and is more likely to suffer from diseases such as esca and eutipiosis.
It complements the winter pruning and is carried out only if the shoots have grown too much, to lower the yield of the plant and thus obtain a better quality of the grapes.
It is done at the end of spring, once the vine has sprouted. Buds, shoots or young green shoots, excess leaves are removed to unload the plant, and poorly located shoots that will be infertile are also removed - located too close to the ground or to which sunlight does not reach, for example.