Controlling grape yield is a very important part of vineyard management. Wines made from extremely productive vineyards that are not controlled properly often have diluted flavors and aromas. However, economics can also dictate the quest for the optimal grape yield. Throughout the grape growing and wine production process, there is and inverse relationship between quality and quantity.
There are a variety of trellis systems that have different consequences in vineyard management. Trellises are used to train vines in an organized and controlled manner. They also help to hold the canopy and grapes in a way that makes maintenance and harvest easier. There is literally hundreds of different systems used throughout the world, but most are slight variations of the major types.
Vines are often trained close to the ground when it is desirable for grapes to continue ripening in the evening from residual heat retained by the soil. In cooler regions, vines are often trained high off the ground to avoid damage during Spring frosts. These are important vineyard management techniques used by managers around California Wine Country.
Leaves are often Pruned in cool climates to increase sun and wind exposure which reduces mildew and bunch rot. The vineyard manager must be careful not to remove too many leaves as grapes can be damaged by direct sunlight.
Proponents of organic farming argue that it is absolutely necessary to capture the true essence of a vineyard. The overuse of pesticides and chemicals will eventually compact the earth and also may present health problems for vineyard workers. Organic farmers believe that using potassium, nitrogen and phosphate as fertilizers will hurt the land over time. Organic farmers use very strict vineyard management policies.
Biodynamic wine is made with grapes grown using biodynamic farming principles. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) advocated this philosophy in 1924 with his Agricultural Course. It is based on the belief that non-physical factors can affect grape production, and employs many organic principles with a mystical element. Overall biological and spiritual well-being is sought.
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