look to pruning options, if you have not already done so.
Any pruning should be undertaken with a final outcome in mind – generally to promote vigour and growth of any new season wood, so that any fruit and foliage grown would be of satisfactory quantity and quality to engender the best possible returns from the patch from your particular customer.
How many buds do you want to leave? In what position are your most fruitful buds? How much old wood do you want to remove (if any)? How much new vigour do you wish to inspire? Are your rows becoming hard to navigate with equipment? Are your canes becoming weaker and shorter and in need of stronger base wood for your spurs? What equipment do you need to finish the task safely and efficiently? Can you do it, or do you need to engage a contractor? Will you be pruning all patches/ varieties the same or are you going to try different things? Will there be a need to follow up any mechanical pruning with a walkthrough? etc. If you are planning any major pruning that may restrict crop level, such as heavy cutting back of a minimal pruned cordon; do you want to do the whole patch, or stage the conversion over successive seasons, to reduce the crop loss?
There are a myriad of questions that should be considered prior to any pruning strategy but once such a strategy is determined, there are other items to still consider.
When should you prune (early/ late) and what are the consequences? Is early bursting a problem (is your vineyard frost prone?) Is there any other equipment that is going to impede the progress of the pruning? Will the workplace be safe? Have staff/contractors been adequately trained? Are you satisfied with the level of insurance cover in case of accidents or injury? Do you need to do any work prior to starting pruning (ie. wrap on more canes, fix broken wires)?
Once the pruning is completed, there are other management items that can be fulfilled, but one of the most immediate would revolve around trellis maintenance and ensuring the trellis is up the task of supporting your crop through to its next harvest. This may mean replacing or supporting broken posts and tightening trellis wires where necessary. It is much easier to do this maintenance when there is little load on the trellis, rather than putting it off and discovering a problem when the canopy is grown, the crop is nearly ripe and the rows are laying on the ground.
Riverland Vine Technical Group (RVTG)