Crop Thinning as Harvest Approaches

With harvest surging towards us, it is time to thin the crop of grapes that is hanging on the vines. Why cut off such lovely fruit? Because the grape’s genetic program evolved to create the maximum quantity of seeds, while as winemakers we want to create the maximum quality of wine.  As a result, the vines create many more clusters than will ripen to excellent quality by harvest time.  This year we are removing approximately 50% of the clusters in order to create delicious, intensely flavored wines.

Thinning Pinot Noir w/supervision

There are twice as many clusters here as we want, so we cut off every other one as we go through the vines. There will be approximately one cluster per shoot on this plant when we are finished.

Thinning is equally important for white wines, especially Pinot Blanc, which has very large clusters to begin with:

Giant Clustered Pinot Blanc

Thinned Pinot Blanc

But do not fear for us, when we start harvesting in three or four weeks, the vines will still appear bountiful, and we will have exceptional fruit to begin the process of making a new vintage of wine!

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