If you live close to vineyards you will notice that pruning season is in full swing. In fact we have completed about two thirds of our pruning. It always seems like a clean fresh start that I appreciate after the frost has left the vineyards and most of my yard looking a bit beaten. It even inspires me to want to do some Spring Cleaning (now…if I can just find the time). I can’t help but think about how many “fresh starts” our Lizzy James vineyard has seen since 1904. Imagine starting your 106th season. Think how many hands have tended you, think of the weather patterns you’ve seen, think of how many bunches you’ve grown, think of how you are thankful that you weren’t replaced with a young vineyard.
So what is pruning and it’s purpose? Well, it really is the whole foundation for the upcoming season. Pruning sets the stage for vine and crop balance which is essential for fine quality wine. Yes….I said wine…..because as farmers we hold strong to the ideal that great wine has to start with great grapes. And great grapes don’t just happen (although some seasons are more cooperative than others), they are fostered, tended to, worried about and loved.
And when it comes to farming, I can’t miss the opportunity to toot Lodi’s horn a bit. Lodi grows more wine grapes than Napa and Sonoma combined and has been the backbone of the wine industry for decades. And in Lodi 80% of the wineries are owned by growers….those same people who foster, tend and worry about their vineyards season after season. Lodi growers have adapted to market changes, lead the way in farming practices and managed to survive as farmers generation after generation. Not an easy feat!! And thank goodness because if we didn’t have growers that did just that their would be no OLD VINE zinfandel and the landscape of Lodi would look strikingly different. So with our fresh start to the season…..Hats off to Lodi Growers!!!