Removing Leaves

morning side


We went to a great deal of effort and expense to orient our vineyard 42 degrees from North/South.  Why…do try and get the same amount of sunshine on the grapes evening morning and evening.

But is that enough?  No…from earlier posts we thinned the shoots to balance the vine.  Now, to add to our “subtraction makes good wine”, we need to remove leaves.  Again, why? If you keep all the leaves then you will have herbaceous tasting wine, probably mold on the vines since the spray can’t get to the clusters and it will increase the anthrocyanin levels (taste).  But you can’t take to much off or you could sunburn the grapes later in the year.  In Russian River Valley, we normally take more leaves off on the morning side (above picture) and keep more on the afternoon side (below picture).  You do this after the grapes are BB size to build up their tolerance to the sun.

Another complicating factor is that some varieties want more leaf removal.  Pinot has very thin skin, so you can’t take to much off.  Sauvignon Blanc is more tolerant so you will probably see most of the leaves removed.

Last year was our first harvest, so the plants were not very vigorous so leafing was very easy.  This year…I have to think hard on which ones to take and which to keep.  Won’t know until the heat of the season if I took to much.

afternoon side

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