January 12, 2024

Mastering Organic Pruning: Elevating Grape Quality with a Less is More Approach

As the calendar flips to January, skilled vintners embark on a dance with the vines, a yearly ritual known as pruning. In ancient times, predictions about the year’s fortune were made using a trimmed twig placed in a pitcher of water. If leaves sprouted, a fruitful year was anticipated. Yet, our forebears understood that an abundance of grapes didn’t guarantee a successful harvest. In the realm of organic viticulture, the art of pruning takes center stage, emphasizing a meticulous approach focused on excellence rather than abundance.

Organic winegrower Krešimir Lovrec in his vineyard of cabernet sauvignon

Organic winegrower Krešimir Lovrec in his vineyard of cabernet sauvignon

Philosophy Unveiled: Prioritizing Quality over Quantity

Within organic grape cultivation, prioritizing quality over quantity is more than a mantra; it’s a way of life. The deliberate choice to limit grape yield per vine is rooted in the belief that each grape cluster deserves optimal conditions to flourish. By restraining cluster numbers, vines can channel energy into producing grapes with superior flavor and complexity.

The Less is More Paradigm: Maximum One Kilo, Maximum Sugar

Organic pruning entails strategic decisions on which shoots and clusters to retain on the vine. Artful vintners in the realm of organic pruning understand that thinning out excess growth promotes sunlight and airflow to the remaining clusters. This intentional act not only enhances vine health but also ensures each grape receives its fair share of nutrients, resulting in a more concentrated flavor profile.

Vines waiting to be prunned

Vines waiting to be prunned

This less-is-more approach extends beyond quantity alone; it directly impacts the sugar content of grapes. With fewer clusters vying for the vine’s attention, grapes have more time to ripen fully. This extended maturation period allows the accumulation of sugars, fostering a natural sweetness that contributes to the unique character of the wine.

Initiating the Pruning Season in January: Commencement of the Viticultural Year

As January unfolds, vintners in organic vineyards initiate the pruning season. Armed with pruning shears and a deep understanding of vines’ needs, they meticulously assess each branch, selecting those to remain and gently pruning away others. The timing of this process is crucial, setting the stage for the upcoming growing season and marking the symbolic beginning of the viticultural year.

Pruning usually starts in January

Pruning usually starts in January

In the world of organic viticulture, the art of pruning is a silent dialogue between the vintner and the vine. It spans seasons, where each carefully made cut contributes to the ultimate expression of grapes. As pruning shears are wielded with precision and purpose, the vintner embraces the principle that less is more, orchestrating a symphony culminating in wines that testify to the artistry of organic viticulture. As the first tendrils of the new season emerge, let the dance with the vines begin, guided by the belief that in the world of organic pruning, the pursuit of quality reigns supreme.

We wrote a short satirical poem about pruning in Croatian. We explained the difference between “obrezivanje” and “orezivanje”. The first means cropping or circumcision, the second means pruning. But many people use them in a wrong way, confusing the meanings.

You can watch the video below.