In early February, every year, we cut the vines of all cordons and stems, except those that enable the plant to achieve a better shape or better yield of grapes. If the older wood that forms the Y-shape is low down, weak or badly formed, it can be replaced by bending over another cordon and cutting away the old wood.
This year we have tried three ways of cutting to see which way produces good grape yield, keeps the vine healthy and avoids mildew or mold on the grapes and leaves. We are also lowering the irrigation pipes so that watering does not cause humidity along the line of foliage and grapes.
We cut some lines of vines very close to the trunk and kept the old wood that forms the Y-shape but took off any growths or spurs, so that the plants had a smoother look. We had heard that this could lead to a ‘blinding’ of buds and maybe the vines would not produce much. We cut this way because the vines were starting to look ‘lumpy’ due to buds left to grow on the previous years spurs. Also we heard that the ‘sangre’ or sap goes into each spur and gets blocked and does not run freely when there are three or four spurs.
Most of the vineyard was cut leaving two buds on each spur, each branch having 4 or 5 such spurs, some less. This does leave the Y-shape branches looking lumpy until bud-burst. Any growth underneath is cut away so only spurs on top remain.
Four lines were cut to new wood by a friend, Pablo, who has vineyards near Ronda. He was interested to see that if by cutting away most of the old wood on the 2 sides of the Y-shape and just leaving one cordon bent down on each side that here would be more and better grapes. Problem here is that sometimes the chosen cordon cannot be bent down or snaps. There a few plants with tape-wrapped branches! The Y-shape also looks odd with thick wood leading to thin cordons. The sap or ‘sangre’ will have no problem reaching along each branch as there are no spurs.
Its early April and there is bud-burst all over the vineyard. The close cut vines have less bud-burst, the new wood cut vines have more and the two-bud cut vines have most. We will see how it looks when the canopy forms and how the grapes then form on the three types of cutting.