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Winterfest: Jazz on the Vine and Wine making on North Fork, Long Island

March 1st, 2011 by Marilyn Marks

Vitalay Golovnev – awesome trumpeter

Long Island Winterfest and Jazz on the Vine continues to be a huge success as a forum for some great musical talent and enjoying North Fork wines. Weekends are busy for a Bed and Breakfast owner but I was able to take some time with two of my sons last Sunday afternoon to hop over to nearby Osprey Dominion winery and listen to the trumpet of of Vitaly Goloveny and a talented group of musicians on saxophone, bass and drums. It was a beautiful afternoon with just enough clouds to temper the strength of the sun that streamed through the large windows framing the tasting room. It is a large space and could have been an acoustic challenge but Vitaly tempered his playing of the trumpet skillfully to take the space into account and maintain a decibel level that was perfect for enjoyment of the sound. Winterfest continues through March 20th and a complete list of all musical performers and venues can be found on the Long Island Winterfest web site. You will find a quick  reference list for who is playing and where on last week’s Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast blog.

In the Vineyard: Wine making at the Sannino Vineyard

I have written in earlier postings about making my own barrel of wine with the Sannino’s Bella Vita vineyard. While the grapes we picked last fall continue their fermentation process in barrel, vat or bottle, this time of year starts a new growing season for the vines.

Netting that protected the grapes from hungry or just opportunistic wildlife has been removed and it is time to prune the vines.

Pruning is basically cutting off unwanted canes to allow the vines to produce a smaller and more intensely flavored crop the following year. This is done by cutting off approximately 90 percent of the past year’s cane growth, retaining only a few canes for fruit production in the upcoming season.

Vine before pruning with last years canes intact

Critical decisions are made during this process as to what parts of the vine are to be kept in order for the plant to be most productive. The photos illustrating the process here are of the same vine before pruning; leafless and then with most of the main canes removed except for four centrally located canes.

After pruning the main canes are laid along and tied to the first layer of wire

All canes have buds capable of producing the shoots, leaves and grapes for next seasons harvest. When pruning only four canes are kept to concentrate the growth of the plant and reduce the amount of fruit produced. The quality of the fruit produced this way is essential to the end product, a full rich wine. When pruning only the central canes are kept because they will allow the optimum amount of space between the main trunks, a consideration when planning for the most productivity in the vineyard. Only two of the four are needed but the additional two are left for insurance in case of damage during the next process.

As shown in the photographs, once pruned the vines are laid  on wires strung between posts and tied to them. One cane is directed to run left and the other right. There is some space left over between the trunks so a third cane is folded across the space.

Once canes have been put in place for the growing season they are called ‘Cordons’. The buds which will gradually swell, shoot and grow as the weather warms are spaced from 4 to 8 inches along each Cordon. Some buds will produce several shoots and  all but the largest and healthiest  will be removed to further concentrate the strength and vigor of the plant . The remaining shoots will then become next years canes and each canes will eventually bear one to three clusters of grapes close to the cordon as they continue  growing vertically.

Cane pruning as it is called is one of two most common methods on The North Fork. The other method is called Spur pruning. Spur pruning is the pruning style of choice for backyard vineyards and vines that are trained on fences and other simple trellises. The two methods can be used in the same field but only one would be selected as the average for the given variety or field.

More on pruning and progress in the vineyard and winery in our next ‘In the Vineyard’ blog post

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