What Makes This California Pruning School Different

The Lake County Winegrape Commission is taking an educational approach designed at addressing an entire region rather than individual vineyards.

Lake County Pruning School is designed for vineyard owners, vineyard supervisors and crew leaders, and experienced vineyard workers. Each class enables one-on-one learning and an opportunity to exchange ideas and techniques with others in the cohort.

The first of its kind for a regional organization, the Kelseyville, California-based immersive training program will be delivered in collaboration with Simonit & Sirch, a well-known grapevine pruning school with more than 30 years of research and experience and a client list that includes a number of prominent vineyards.

“This three-year project will further enhance the quality and reputation of Lake County winegrapes and demonstrates our growers’ commitment to sustainable viticultural practices,” said Jonathan Walters, Chair of the Lake County Winegrape Commission.

Simonit & Sirch Master Pruner Jacopo Miolo will share knowledge about grapevine sap flow and teach innovative pruning techniques that foster grapevine health and resistance to pests and drought. This supports improved consistency of fruit over the years and, ultimately, a longer vineyard lifespan, Miolo explained.

“The Lake County Pruning school will provide an opportunity to learn specifically how the grapevine works and how to help the plant live longer and healthier,” Miolo said. “The school will also provide growers an opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge.”

The Lake County Pruning School comprises a theoretical introductory online lesson and three days of practical hands-on lessons in the vineyard — two days during the winter for vine pruning and one day during the spring for shoot thinning. The program provides in-depth fundamental principles applicable to all grapevine training systems, such as controlled branching, vascular flow, cuts and crown buds, and protective spare wood.

“Lake County is the first region to host a collective project with Simonit & Sirch, addressing an entire region instead of a single property,” said Debra Sommerfield, President of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. “And by delivering Lake County Pruning School in both English and Spanish, we are able to meet the educational needs of all vineyard workers.”

Employers sending five or more employees can receive a 10 percent discount by using a special promo code during registration. Contact [email protected] for the code. Those interested in registering may visit www.lakecountywinegrape.org/news-events/events/lake-county-pruning-school/

Photo: Nathan DeHart Photography

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