Behind the Scenes

Video: How to Ripen Grapes on the Vine – Leaf Thinning

How to Ripen Grapes on the Vine at Jordan

After the grapes bloom and tiny berries form into full grape clusters, it’s time for the important practice of leaf pulling, captured in the above video. A crucial step in how to ripen grapes on the vine, our vineyard team pulls leaves away from the area just above a grapevine’s cordon, or arms, where grape clusters grow. Removing targeted leaves allows for increased air movement and dappled light penetration. Cool breezes help keep pest pressure low, and the shaded light creates an ideal environment for the grapes to ripen without getting sunburned. Too much sun often creates overripe flavors (think prunes and raisins) our winemaking team considers undesirable. And grapes that receive too little sunshine will not develop the dark fruit characteristics consistently found in our style of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Typically grapegrowers pull leaves only on the side of the grapevine that receives morning sun, which generally has a lower light and heat intensity, and leave the vine canopy full on the afternoon sun side for increased shade during the hottest time of the day. Not always true at Jordan. Our hillside vineyard blocks are planted at different elevations, directions and exposures, which makes leaf pulling decisions much more strategic. Precision and balance are key.

For more information about grapevine maintenance, read How to Prune Grapevines for Quality Winemaking.

7 Comments
Tweets that mention Leaf pulling: grapevine life cycle, vineyard maintenance | The Jordan Journey -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jordan Winery, Jordan Winery, Jordan Winery, Jordan Winery, Jordan Winery and others. Jordan Winery said: New blog post: Leaf pulling: preparing grapevines for ripening http://goo.gl/fb/Zz2nS […]

(Reply)
12 Blogs for All Types of Wine Lovers | IWA Wine Blog

[…] just watch any number of beautiful yet informative videos: a time lapse of the grapes growing, leaf pulling to prepare grapevines for ripening and grape veraison are a few of our favorite […]

(Reply)
2011 grape growing season | Sonoma County | The Journey of Jordan Winery

[…] the farming for quality ensure we know how best to approach the summer vineyard practices, such as leafing and veraison thinning, to ensure the vineyards’ grapes grow into balance before the […]

(Reply)
Soil mapping technology: winery precision farming vineyards

[…] are now micro-farmed according to differences in soil type and texture. Irrigation, cover crops, leaf thinning and other farming practices change within a single acre and even within a single row. The 30 […]

(Reply)
Grapes: veraison, cluster thinning and 2010 cool weather

[…] last week’s video on leaf pulling, we mentioned that summer temperatures in Northern Sonoma County have been 10-20 degrees below […]

(Reply)
Ashley Johnson

I liked that you said that one thing that farmers will do to promote good growth for their grapes is to pull the grape leaves only on the side that has the least amount of sunlight and heat intensity. I would imagine that this would help the grapes acquire more sunlight and heat, which will help it reach its growth potential and provide the best flavor for wine. I am interested in learning more about how grapes are grown to their peak in order to provide the best tasting wines.

(Reply)
Lisa Mattson

Hi Ashley,
One of the keys to growing great grapes to make great wines is vine balance. Our winemaker talks about it throughout this blog. If they vine is not in balance, the grapes won’t have balanced flavors. This sometimes requires thinning the fruit throughout the growing season to help the vine achieve balance. Uniformity is also key. If the grapes are growing unevenly, then their flavors will not be in balance. You can search veraison thinning and suckering on our blog home page to see some of these posts.

(Reply)

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Brent Young

A 2005 harvest intern who returned to Jordan full-time as viticulturist in 2008. Now Director of Agricultural Operations in charge of estate vineyards, precision farming and cattle. Spends free time showing cutting horses and restoring vintage cars, especially Woodies.

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