Deleafing is the process of removing excess leaves as a part of vineyard management. This process is done primarily to provide ample ventilation and sunshine to the growing grape cluster during veraison (ripening of the grapes).
It is especially important in Oregon where there is high probability of rain, this would also allow the grapes to quickly dry and receive direct sunlight in order to avoid grape diseases such as mildew or botrytis which would lead to “bad” grapes. Pinot Noir is a an especially delicate grape variety and this additional exposure to sunlight and ventilation will also help it mature properly.
A quick video of the Washington Merlot we processed on Monday, October 1st at Hawks View Cellars. We processed 22,000 lbs or 11 tons of grapes this day. What you see here are the grapes coming in, which have been hand picked. We then hand process them by removing any leaves or bad grapes- such as dried grapes of grapes that are not in good shape- then it is destemmed with the machine. The grapes are separated from the stem and the stem leaves from the top part and the grapes, the size of blueberries leave through the side shoot.