It’s our beginning of the year. Spring in the vineyard. So much happens now and it truly is a magical time in the growing season.  

What are we up to? Let’s start with the lingo: 

Budbreak – this refers to the opening of a dormant bud, when the shoot begins to grow.

For Winemaker, Tim Charisse, this is his favourite part of the spring season in the vineyard. “It’s the excitement of seeing how the vines did through the winter”, he says. “It’s when the possibilities of the year’s winemaking start to take hold.”

Shoot thinning –  this practice is done for the overall health of the harvest. After bud break, the grape vine canopy can become very crowded. Thinning out shoots from buds that are poorly positioned allows for better air flow.

Leaf pulling – removing leaves allows for more sunshine to reach the fruit. The goal is to create the perfect canopy density. 

Topping – Shoot topping is a viticulture practice that consists in cutting off the ends of the shoots. 

Why do this? It means the vine will no not spend its energy to grow the shoots longer but instead will distribute its energy evenly among the remaining shoots and eventually its hanging clusters of grapes. It’s the quality over quantity principle. 

2020 Nature’s Plan

“Ultimately we work with and try to complement whatever Mother Nature has in store for us. This year so far been a cool spring but the buds are coming and the birds are here. It’s been cool, slow and not too wet. By nature’s calendar, we are right on time,” states our Viticulturist, Bruno Friesen

It is this relationship with nature that will guide our vineyard activities all through the season. Two examples of this philosophy in practice are: 

1. Growing Our Own – This year, we have two new varieties of alfalfa growing to create natural compost for the vineyard. It adds nitrogen and trace minerals to soil. It also contains a natural fatty-acid growth stimulant called trianconatol.

2. Golden Carpets – “In between the rows you’ll see beautiful yellow carpets of gold dandelions,“ shares Friesen. “This is a sign of our sustainable practices in terms of our permaculture goals. “Most people use cover cross and break up the soil. We take a different direction here.”

By not breaking up the soil, a permanent carpet is created and not as much carbon is released. 

“We don’t disrupt this cycle and we’ve increased the yield. The roots go deeper down in if you don’t disrupt them.” 

Forecast 2020

Both Friesen and Charisse admit they do not have a crystal ball and never quite know what nature has in store. 

“We just hope for a nice growing season. Some sun and heat and some rain not too much,” states Charisse. 

Looking Ahead 

As a designated Sustainable Winery, Friesen leads the way with innovative methods to develop our relationship with nature. Always looking at new ways to get things done, he has many projects that we’ll be sharing in upcoming blogs throughout the growing season. 

As for 2020 wine making goals, not knowing what and how all the elements of nature will play out means nothing is planned yet. But as Charisse states “that means we may come up with something new for the 2020 vintage. You’ll just have to stay tuned.” 


Special thanks to our team members Alyssa Staples and Kyle Wallace for these gorgeous 📸 of spring in our vineyards.

Pssttt… Don’t forget while you’re here to sign up for our Birthday Club and receive a $20 Gift Voucher for your birthday!