Why deleafing/thinning is important for Pinot Noir in Oregon

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.

Espergura or debudding of Vaso and Espaldera style of Vines, La Rioja

Around the end of April, beginning of May, is the time of year that this is done in vineyards in Spain.  An espergura, or debudding, is the cleaning of the vines; this basically means selecting which shoots to keep and then removing the rest.

In this case, we did this to a vaso-style (goblet)type of vine, a vine that is common in La Rioja.  In this case, this vine was over 50 years old.

In this next video, we did a debudding on a espaldera style of vine.  When you have this style of vine, it is done differently from the vaso style vine as Professor Pedro Balda explains.

Special Thanks to Pedro Balda for showing our class how to properly de-bud these vines

The reason for espergura is to reduce the chance that unwanted shoots take vigor and productivity away from those buds and shoots that were left at pruning time to produce the crop for this year. This is what we did at Finca La Grajera about 8 km from Logroño, Spain.  This vineyard is owned and operated by the Government of La Rioja.  Participating in espergura work was part of my Viticulture course at the University of La Rioja.

Espergura:
Es una limpieza de troncos. Se separan a mano los brotes que surgen en el tronco, y como además se habrán desarrollado plantas espontáneas entre las cepas, se hace una labor al suelo de gradeo.