Lafond Vineyards, Santa Rita Hills


Hedging is an important part of canopy management. As the season progresses the canes outgrow their retaining wires and fall over the lower leaves, covering the fruit as well. This is very inefficient from the photosynthesis standpoint — leaves in the shade do not contribute — and as they cover the fruit they reduce the benefit of exposure and air movement.

The image is of the hedger, which trims both top and sides of two rows simultaneously. The rows are only six feet wide and with a tractor that allows less than one foot on each side the driver must be attentive.

Pinot Noir cane growth is relatively modest and hedging may be repeated two or thee times during the growing season. Other varieties, such as Syrah, are much more vigorous and may require hedging more frequently.

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