Winter in the Vineyard
What happens to grapevines after harvest, during the winter months?
The grapevine is a perennial plant, meaning it goes dormant in the winter and grows back in the spring, year after year. Dormancy begins post-harvest once the leaves begin to fall, usually mid to late November. Although it doesn't seem like much is happening during dormancy, this is a crucial time for the vines to conserve energy for the following spring, and protect themselves from frost or other extreme winter conditions.
You’ll see the progression of our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir vineyard below. October’s vines were beginning to yellow, November’s turned russet, and you see bare vines on a crisp December day.
|Vineyard in October||Vineyard in November||Vineyard in December|
One critical task completed in the vineyard during winter dormancy is pruning, the process of cutting back old wood to encourage next year’s growth. “There are two main types of pruning. In spur pruning all but one to three buds of the previous year’s growth are removed. Also, in spur pruning a permanent arm – or arms, called cordons are left. In cane pruning there are no cordons- and the canes – which grow out of short spurs on the trunk are removed, leaving just the right number of canes, usually one to four. Cane pruning is preferred when optimal balance is necessary. Spur pruning maintains more vine mass and can help vigorous varieties like SB get going in the spring due to the larger number of stored sugars available in the trunk, cordon and roots.” – Winemaker Jeff Hinchliffe. Judicious pruning balances vines and improves wine concentration.
Weather is a big deciding factor of when to prune, and generally takes place in January and February. We avoid pruning in the rain, as fungal disease and bacteria can carry and infect pruning wounds.
See the below comparison of our Russian River vineyard before and after pruning.
|Vines Before Pruning||Vines After Pruning|
Winter dormancy usually lasts until March, when the sap begins to rise from the roots and bud break shows the first signs of new growth in the vineyard for the season.
Bismark Snow in Merlot
See the photo below for a winter surprise. Snow seen at our Bismark Ranch along the Mayacamas Mountain Range.
Photograph courtesy of Vicente Galvan (2/22/22)
Don’t let your cellar go dormant. Stock up on a few of Hanna year-around favorites. Guests enjoy 15% discount and members enjoy a 30% discount when purchasing 3 or more bottles of the featured wines.
Guest Promo Code: vineyard
Member Promo Code: Dormancy
Valid on 3+ bottle purchases. Offer Ends: 3/1/22
Visit HANNA During Dormancy
Book a cozy seated tasting far from the crowds
VIP SEATED TASTING
$35 Guest | Complimentary for HANNA Wine Club Members up to four people
WINE & CHEESE PAIRING
$40 Guest | Members receive 1 complimentary cheese plate per year
CABERNET & CHARCUTERIE PAIRING
$45 Guest | $30 per HANNA member
PICNIC UNDER THE BIG OAK TREE
$50 Guest | $35 per HANNA member