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In the Vineyard; Suckering

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Suckering is the removal of all unnecessary shoots which grow on vines as weather warms up. The benefits of suckering result in fewer grape clusters and higher concentrations of flavors. It also opens up the canopy for improved air circulation which can prevent mold and mildew.

Suckering is completed in the spring and is an important process vital to the production of higher quality of fruit and better use of the vine's energy. Following bud-break once the weather warms up, there is a rapid acceleration of shoot growth on the vines. They can grow up to an inch per day. By removing these shoots, the vine's energy can be redirected to the growth of fruit, creating higher concentrations of flavor in the grapes.

Last May 23th we did the Suckering in our Vineyard which is located on Lakeport. The varietal of grapes is Sauvignon Blanc. There were 28 people working there. Enrique, my baby and I woke up at 4:30 am so we could be there around 6:00 am. It take us one hour and a half to get to the Vineyard in Kelseyville. There is a small room in the garage so I laid down my baby there and I went to see how the people were working.

It always amazes me the energy that they have. They work in pairs so one on each side of the vine. Most of them have been working in the vineyards for years so they already know what to do. It seems an easy job but, believe me, it is not as easy as we might think. They have to make decisions on each vine. They look for the better shoots and quickly remove the ones that are unnecessary.

I could hear the music that somebody plays from a little device placed in his pocket, and one of them kept shouting “Animo Raza” which is a phrase to lift up the mood of the workers. The cycle in the vineyards is beautiful. It teaches us to keep going even in pandemic times and it teaches us as well to take the time to sleep and to rest so we can renew and bloom beautifully next season.

By: Ligia Coria

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