Gardening Boots ......... Pruning at Haak Winery
This last weekend we went to Haak Winery ~ a winery/vineyard along the Gulf Coast of Texas. Fritz Westover - the Viticultural Extension Associate for the Gulf Coast Region was giving a demonstration on how to correctly prune grape vines. Around 50 people showed up to watch his demonstration and help prune the vineyard. Everyone was allowed to take home as many cuttings as they wanted . I was pretty surprised that Haak Winery would allow complete strangers in to prune their vineyard - and was relieved to hear that we would only be cutting off the vines above the second wire. The Haak Vineyard crew would come in and do the final pruning. Fritz's demonstration was clear and concise - he took us through all the different problems that we might encounter while pruning ~ every vine is different and there was some hurricane damage from Ike. After the demonstration we were turned loose in the vineyard. Fifty or so people can make short work of rough pruning a small vineyard and before long we were finished ~ just in time to enjoy some of the best fried oysters I've ever tasted and some very fine wine!
Jim's Blog Entry: Saturday's trip to Haak vineyards was time well spent. We received valuable instruction on the art of pruning from owner Raymond Haak and from Fritz, the enthusiastic ag agent for viticulture - prune your spur down close to the cordon, two buds each spur, five buds per foot, fifteen per cordon. Check for direction of growth, check for the health of the spur. Look for the green, look for the juice. Keep your steel sharp, keep it oiled.
Winery/Vineyard owner Raymond Haak and Fritz Westover discuss some of the problem areas that were seen in the vineyard this year. For Haak "Each vine is a chapter in a book." Like most vineyard owners he frets over each one. These Blanc du Bois vines are around thirteen years old.A properly pruned vine.
Lazar was one of the participants. This is his second year attending pruning day at the winery. Last year he took home 300 hundred cuttings - 204 of which are alive and well. Growing vines from cuttings takes a while longer and the success rate is lower then buying grafted vines - but hey - they were free!Originally from Romania, Lazar gave me some interesting information on Romanian wines. Cheers!
I found the following information about Fritz on the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association website:
"Fritz Westover has been working in the viticulture industry since 1999. He began as a vineyard worker for the Chaddsford Winery in southeastern Pennsylvania, while obtaining his BS in horticulture from Penn State University. Fritz completed his MS in plant pathology in 2003 from the Penn State Department of Plant Pathology while assisting with grapevine decline research in Pennsylvania and New York vineyards. His research involved various projects concerning biological causes of grapevine decline in replanted vineyards, grape disease management, and the use of compost in vineyards. Fritz has worked internationally as an assistant winemaker for the 2004 harvest at Caiaross Vineyards and winery in Pisa, Italy. From 2005 to 2007, Fritz served as Virginia Techs viticulture Research extension Associate at the Alson H. Smith Agricultural Research and Extension center in Winchester, Virginia. He is currently working with the Texas Agri-Life extension Service as Viticulture Extension Associate for the Gulf Coast."