MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021. BY LISA MELINE, VITICULTURE STUDENT AND LWC VOLUNTEER.

The first WINTER WEDNESDAY PRUNING SEMINAR brought to you by the Lodi Winegrape Commission (LWC) was held on the afternoon of December 16th at Ring Ranch in Acampo, California.

Hosts Kyle Brown, LangeTwins Vineyard Manager and LWC REC Committee Member, and Craig W. Edwards, Owner of Acampo Machine Works/CFM Worldwide, showcased a Spagnolo pre-pruner. This Spagnolo machine has three major components:  a power pack, a carrier frame, and a head. The blades on the head are adjustable and allow for pruning on all four sides of the cordon, whereas other box pruning equipment does not prune below the cordon.

 

Craig Edwards explains the Spagnolo pre-pruning equipment customized for LangeTwins Vineyards. Photo by Stephanie Bolton.

Craig Edwards explains the Spagnolo pre-pruning equipment customized for LangeTwins Vineyards. Photo by Stephanie Bolton.

 

LangeTwins’ goal was to reduce overall pruning costs by pre-pruning to a targeted 8-inch box around the cordon of a high wire Cabernet Sauvignon block (planted in 2013).

Through years of experience, Kyle has found that this combination of winegrape variety and trellis system, Cabernet Sauvignon on high wire, adapts well to mechanization, reducing operational costs associated with pruning and harvesting. Other winegrape varieties that he has found work well for mechanization include: Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot noir, Syrah, Albariño, and Gewurztraminer. He doesn’t recommend a high wire trellis for Zinfandel, however.

 

Kyle Brown gets his tape measure out to ensure an 8-inch box. Photo by Stephanie Bolton.

Kyle Brown gets his tape measure out to ensure an 8-inch box. Photo by Stephanie Bolton.

 

The vineyard block featured for this seminar was planted at 7-ft spacing with 10-ft rows. The cordons were trained to 66 inches above the ground on a 90-inch post. Mechanized pre-pruning tips from Kyle include:

                    • keep the nodes high and tight to the wire
                    • don’t go too high with the wire
                    • don’t let the arms hang down below the wire
                    • only wrap the cordon once around the wire
                    • train the trunk close to the stake for protection

According to Kyle, in the Lodi AVA, a 66-inch cordon allows for plenty of canopy to support yields of 9-10 tons/acre. Over time the number of spurs are trained from 1 bud/spur to 2 buds/spur and with 10-12 growing positions per cordon.

The pre-pruner in action. Video by Stephanie Bolton.

 

Kyle runs the Spagnolo pre-pruner with a pruning protectant spray rig attached, which offers immediate protection to the pruning wounds (they use Spur Shield). He then follows behind with a hand clean-up crew who is taught to move fast, trimming as needed to keep an 8-inch box. Attendees were able to test their clean-up pruning skills with Kyle’s guidance.

 

The star of the meeting - driver xx - by the pre-pruner. Photo by Stephanie Bolton.

The star of the meeting – driver Miguel Beltran – by the pre-pruner. Photo by Stephanie Bolton.

 

The driver of the pre-pruning equipment is the most important asset to this mechanized process. The height of the blades needs to closely track the cordon height and so it is especially important to train the cordon tight to the wire, as mentioned.

Finally, as a bonus, Craig also displayed a Collard box pruner and a suckering machine.

 

Collard box pruner on display. Photo by Lisa Meline.

Collard box pruner on display. Photo by Lisa Meline.

 

Mechanized suckering equipment. Photo by Lisa Meline.

Mechanized suckering equipment. Photo by Lisa Meline.

 

Please join us for our next Winter Wednesday Pruning Seminar on February 10, 2021, from 2:30 – 4pm, which will be hosted by Joe Valente (Kautz Farms) and pruning champion Amy Blagg.  Details below.


WINTER WEDNESDAY PRUNING SEMINAR.

Date:  Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Time:  2:30 – 4:00pm (PST)

Venue:  Outdoors with face masks (register for location)

Cost:  FREE

Hosts:  Joe Valente & Amy Blagg

Trellising Systems/Variety:  Cabernet Sauvignon on bilateral, quads, high wire, and cane

Pruning Types:  Cane and spur, by hand

Description:  We’re hosting small, hands-on pruning seminars on specific vineyard systems to help growers of all skill levels optimize their pruning skills. These interactive seminars will occur on Wednesday afternoons this Winter at various locations and are open to growers who are using or who want to start using the system demonstrated at that seminar. We’ll cover hand pruning through mechanized pruning throughout the Winter. One student slot is open at each seminar.

Registration required:  Email stephanie@lodiwine.com to register as space is limited to 12 participants per seminar.


Featured image by Randy Caparoso. 


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