There are 3 embryonic bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon in the picture. Two are top right and one is on the smaller stem, lower left.
The lower left stem has been removed. Its has one bunch with pin-head sized grapes, only a tenth the size of the grapes on the right.
Even this stem is too short, with too few leaves. Even if this stem were longer and leafier, these grapes would ripen 2 weeks after the other bunches.
We have been busy with a summer form of pruning for most of November (the normal annual pruning cycle happens in winter, which is July around here). We are removing any growth that will not contribute toward the best wine that can be made from these vines.
All of the grapes we harvest from each vineyard have to have grapes with the same level of ripeness. If there’s one green bunch in the middle of 10 ripe bunches, all of the juice (and also the wine) will have a bitter, green flavour in it. So while we can spot the difference (when all of the berries are smallish), we take away the bunches that are sure to give green flavours, when we pick the grapes.
We also cut off some of the bunches on slimmer or weaker vines, once more to enable all of the ripeness to hit the same peak, at the same time.
In addition, we strip away branches that don’t have any bunches of grapes on them. It is important that all of the nutrition coming from the ground and up the trunk of the vine goes to the well-being and flavour content of the grapes.
We do these with every vine, one by one, on the property.