We are in our own little ‘Apocalypse Now’.  The February cold has done a number on many vineyards in the state.  Retraining is the only viable option.  However, this may not be the devastation you might imagine.  Over the years vines are highly stressed by heat and cold, diseases and insects.  Old wood needs to be renewed every once in awhile, so this is a great opportunity to do that.  Will you lose production this year?  Yes, but it is already gone anyway so just get to retraining for next year.  Remember, the root system is still the same age the vines were, so shoots will come out very quick.  Very fast growth is not desirable, as it tends to be weak; so leave multiple shoots for trunks, but select one (or two) as your main trunks.  Once you have the trunk(s) established you can cut back the others.  The other shoots act as governors on the growth, slowing it down thus making better wood.  What can happen if you decide to keep the old, damaged wood?  Grape Cane Borer (aka Apple Twig Borer) for one.  That critter attacks weak, stressed wood.  Also, stressed wood is more susceptible to diseases like Eutypa, Crown Gall, etc.  There is no time like the present to reinvigorate your vineyard — and the sooner you get started, the more chance you will have to get a little fruit next year.

Winter Injured Cabernet Franc

Winter Injured Cabernet Franc at Perkins

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