February 2021

Alternatives to the traditional pruning

The vineyards in Rheinhessen are getting bigger and bigger. Pruning, the most labour-intensive activity of the year, offers a long window of time from December to March. Nevertheless, perhaps especially now in the wake of the pandemic, some wineries are experiencing staff shortages and are looking for time-saving alternatives.

You can see this quite clearly in vineyards that seem to not have been pruned at all, which then also appear in full green in early spring. However, there is a method behind this called minimum pruning system. Here, only mechanical pruning is carried out in summer. Yields skyrocket in the first two years and, unless the grapes are massively reduced, the wines offer just a basic quality. But the vineyards regulate themselves very quickly and after a few years they often produce remarkable qualities due to reduced grapes.

A certain pruning without a lot of manual work is offered by the cordon pruning system. Here, the shoots of the previous year are usually cut back by machine to a certain length, which varies according to the yield potential of the grape variety. The whole thing is done with "saw blades" attached horizontally to the tractor, which avoid the stakes. The cut vine wood is thus immediately cut into short pieces and falls to the ground. The vintner can, but does not necessarily have to, rework the wood by hand. The amount of work is reduced by 70 to 80% compared to normal manual pruning.

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Contact details:

Rheinhessenwein e.V.

Udo Diel

Otto-Lilienthal-Straße 4

55232 Alzey

Tel: (0049) 6731 951074 18
E-Mail: udo.diel@rheinhessenwein.de

Contact details:

Rheinhessenwein e.V.

Otto-Lilienthal-Straße 4

55232 Alzey

Tel: (0049) 6731 951074 18
E-Mail: udo.diel@rheinhessenwein.de

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