Last Saturday morning I was out in the vineyard with the crew for a lesson on thinning the grape bunches. Back in May we left up to one bunch every foot on the vines. Now after flowering and fruit set, we returned to select the bunches that we want to keep to ripen on the vine. If we leave too many bunches, they will not be sweet enough and the fruit will be small. Our goal is too remove just enough so that we have delightful grapes to harvest. On some vines all the bunches set really well, and on others it was easy to choose which bunches to keep.
We space out our selection to allow plenty of light and air between each bunch. Keeping disease at bay is mostly making sure that there is plenty of air movement around the bunches. Bunches growing inside the mass of leaf growth were removed. Any leaves tangled in the bunches were carefully removed as we do not want to harvest a ripe bunch only to have grapes damaged with juice everywhere. There is a great deal to do and think about when growing grapes. Thankfully I have a wonderful farmer, John Lagier, who helps me make the right choices when it comes to caring for the grapes.