May 2010 – Shoots and Leaves

The weather has really warmed up a lot now in wine country and in Okanagan Falls the vines are showing some action. Shoots and young leaves are starting to grow and soak up the sunlight as they start providing the vine with energy to build fruit and vegetation. I worked at a winery that spent quite a while at this time of year doing something called ‘shoot thinning’. This is where I spent days flicking off shoots that are growing in undesirable locations on directions, or if there are too many shoots growing on a single cane or cordon.

While most of our trees have leaves by this time of year, the vines take a little while longer to really start to show growth. Once they get going though, they’ll be sending up shoots and clusters pretty quickly.

Baby vines recently planted at Meyer Family Vineyards in Okanagan Falls.
New vines are inter-planted with old vines. The old vines will be taken out once the new vines are almost ready to produce fruit.
A recently replaced cane on a vine trained using the "Geneva Double Curtain" trellis at Noble Ridge in Okanagan Falls.
A closer view of a new shoot.

It’s a great time of year to visit wine country. Although the weather is a little unpredictable at this time of year, it’s not overly hot. It’s one of the few times of year in the Okanagan when it’s just ‘pleasant’. The crowds haven’t arrived yet and because much of the previous year’s whites have been bottled, there’s plenty of wine available in the wine shops.