Pulling out has to be one of the worst jobs in the vineyard.  By definition the weather is cold, and usually wet.  The ground is soggy, and the vines seem hell bent on lashing you across the head at every opportunity.  If you’re not familiar with pulling out, let me explain.

Every year the vines have to be pruned back, ready for new growth in the Spring.  There are two types of pruning – cane and spur.  Cane pruning is where you cut away all the growth from last year leaving just two canes that you wrap down to the cordon wire.  All the new growth comes from shoots that rise from these two canes.  Spur pruning is where old wood is left on the vine.  New growth comes from the spurs that are left when last years growth is cut away.  Different pruning techniques suit different grape varieties in different regions.  We spur prune our Pinot Noir and cane prune the Chardonnay.  But what ever you do, once you have done the pruning, you still have to pull out all the unwanted wood from the trellising – and it hurts.

Old canes ready to be pulled out - on cane pruned vines.

Old canes ready to be pulled out – on cane pruned vines.

Above – before, and below – after.

The vines after the old wood has been pulled out.

The vines after the old wood has been pulled out.

Pulling out is just that – yanking and cutting at the canes to get them free from the wires.  They get tangled up, they get stuck, they whip about and tear at your hands.  I think the only good bit about pulling out is the bonfire you have at the end.  Cold night, raging fire and a glass of Shiraz.  There is something to be said for that feeling at the end of a hard days work.

Burning the canes off at the end of pruning.

Burning the canes off at the end of pruning.

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