Harvest 2019 - Suckering

May 15, 2019 09:25

For this month's stop on the journey through the growth-cycle of our vines, we focus a crucial part of vineyard prep as we lead up to the 2019 harvest. As our vines have experienced new growth in the past month, it is now time for suckering.

suckering. suck·er·ing. verb. The removal of vegetative formation of a new stem and root system from an adventitious bud of a stem or root, either naturally or by human action

Just as anyone who has grown fruit trees in their yard knows, you always get some extra shoots coming up from the base of the tree, or low along the trunk. This extra new growth takes away energy that should be going toward the main part of the plant, and the fruit.


This is the time of year when we go in and remove the extra growth, allowing the vine to concentrate on its primary task. In the images, you can see that the Dutton Ranch crew has just come through the vineyard, as the leaves on the ground are still fresh. You can also see what looks like tiny grapes on the clusters in the vine. These are actually the flower buds that haven’t opened yet.


Rain this week is causing concern for growers and winemakers, as if flowering occurs during wet weather, good pollination won’t happen (as we experienced in 2015). Grapes are self-pollinating, so no bees are required, but good weather is. Dampness keeps the flower cap from coming off all the way to expose the pistol and stamen, so they can do their work of pollination and creating the life that will become the grape berry. Keep your fingers crossed for us that our delayed start to the growing season this year will time things right so bloom waits another week to begin. Then, bring on the warm sunshine and Russian River Valley breezes to take us into a good set for the 2019 harvest. Stay tuned for our next update to find out how it all played out!