Grape to Glass  :  The Growing Season

While the fall harvest is certainly a busy time of year for California’s wine-grape growers, winegrowing is a year round process. Each season, growers have specific sets of practices and maintenance they must carry out in the vineyards to ensure the highest quality grapes possible.

picking grapes

Photo credit: Russian River Valley (Warren H.W. White)

winter growing season

Photo Credit: Sonoma County Vintners


When a plant is relatively inactive, during which some processes, including growth, are slowed down or suspended.


During California’s colder winter months, the vines settle into a dormant state and pruning takes place. Just like fruit trees, higher-quality fruit grows on vines that have been cut back properly, so in winter when vines have lost their leaves and are almost empty of sap, growers begin pruning. Pruning requires experience and must be done very carefully, as too much will cause less fruit to grow in the coming months and too little may produce lower-quality grapes. Pruning sets the stage for the upcoming crop and is considered a skillful art among most growers and vineyard workers.


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