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Monday, 1 March 2010

The Right Cut

Since taking on the pruning at Chateau de Pimpean this year we have had much discussion with pruners, vineyard owners and viticulturists about pruning methods and how best to avoid diseases.

One issue that has come up time and time again is where to make the cut when pruning. We were trained in the UK by a New Zealander who taught us to always cut close to the bud. The reason for this is to avoid the risk of die-back which in turn gives an entry point for disease. In addition, we always cut at a 45 degree angle pointing away from the bud which means that rainwater and sap will not drip on to the new bud but be drawn away from it.

Many vineyards around here seem to cut much further away from the bud - they are equally adamant that this is the correct way forward despite the potential problems with die-back.

Of course, pruning methods will differ from region to region and advice given will vary. I am interested to know if it does actually make a difference so have pruned 3 rows differently (each time making the cut in a different place) and will report back on progress later on in the year.

Row 1 has been pruned cutting close to the bud

Row 2 has been pruned half way between the buds

Row 3 has been pruned as far away as possible from the bud

I'd love to hear from anyone who has practical experience pruning vines. What is your approach and what are the reasons for this?


  1. We tend to prune using method 2, as too close to the bud can cause it to dry out before bud break. We also prune as late as possible in the season to allow most Eutypa spores to be released by earlier winter rains and provide some passive frost protection.

  2. Thanks for the comment John. Absolutely with you on pruning as late in the season as possible - we are hoping to be finished within the next three weeks having started at the beginning of February although I see many local vineyards pruning pretty much as soon as harvest is over.