Visiting vineyards in Switzerland

I am traveling a bit the next two weeks and have a opportunity to visit some very picturesque vineyards in southern Switzerland. It’s very inspiring and I expect that once I get back to Minnesota I’ll be pretty excited to finish up the 2014 wine and get ready for the 2015 vintage.

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Hana, Celine, myself, and Celeste in Lavaux

Some of the terraces were only a few vines wide.
Very steep, south facing slopes. Some of the terraces were only a few vines wide.

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No tractors here.

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At the Chateau Chillon.

Pruning

The Vineyard at Sovereign Estate, ready to prune
The Vineyard at Sovereign Estate, ready to prune

The warm weather this week has made it ideal for pruning the vines, and so far everything is looking great. Vineyards require pruning every winter to ensure that the vine stays in balance with how much fruit it can ripen. In case you didn’t know, a vine only produces grapes from the primary buds on 1 year old wood. In other words, last year’s green growth become this year’s fruiting buds. Because the vine produces a great amount of green growth every summer, far more fruiting buds are produced than can possibly be ripened. Thus we have to prune of the majority of the new growth, leaving only 2 or 3 buds behind on a spur to produce this summer’s grapes.

Cutting canes down to a three bud spur
Cutting canes down to a three bud spur

I only pruned a handful of vines myself, so I can’t take credit for this hard and important task. Many thanks to Isaac, Paul, and Todd for keeping the vineyard in great shape.

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