Pruning Season - 2022
It's pruning season again at Free State Cellars! While crops are dormant, our family members grab their sheers and get to snipping! This winter task is an "all hands-on deck" ordeal and requires all family members to participate annually to prepare for new growth. It may look as if we are harming or killing the vines by removing much of its wood mass, but pruning is very beneficial and the best way to upkeep muscadine vines.
January through February is the ideal time for pruning these vines and the process is straight-forward. Pruning is used to develop short lateral shoots, or spurs, off the cordons. All shoot growth from the previous season should be cut back to spurs with two to four buds each. It is important to cut back crops as it is new growth that produces fruit; overgrown plants will not bloom or bear fruit. If not controlled, small vines known as tendrils will wrap around the main stem and can often suffocate the plant and prevent it from shoot growth. In short, pruning muscadine grapes not only controls growth, but also increases the productivity of the plant.
Pictured above is a water and sap mixture oozing from cut spurs. This is known as "bleeding." Bleeding in grape vines occur after being snipped, during the dormant period of growth and when there is plenty of water available to the roots.
We harbor nine acres of grapes, and all our crops are clipped by hand. As a smaller farm, we can care more intimately for our vines and carefully inspect the plant growth every year.
We are closed through January 19th while we continue to work through pruning season. Our tasting room will reopen for full service on January 20. Thank you for your continued support of shopping local and Texas farming!