Calm, cloudy mornings provide the perfect opportunity to prune our terraced Cabernet Franc vines. Each winter, the previous year’s shoots are trimmed back to one or two buds per “spur” (the fingerlike projections along the horizontal arms of the vine). In the spring, these buds will begin to grow new shoots and will produce the fruit for the new vintage.
The fruit for each year’s crop is actually formed during the previous year’s growing season. Last summer, at the same time that the 2009 grape clusters were developing flavors and pigments, the 2010 grape “primordial” (groups of cells hidden deep within the buds) were being formed. The amount of sunlight reaching the buds in 2009 has an effect on the fruitfulness of the buds that will grow in 2010, so amazingly, each vintage is connected to the one that preceded it. It’s just another example of Mother Nature keeping us on our toes.