Press Democrat: Speed, precision on display at Sonoma County Pruning Championship

On Friday, February 13th at Shone Farm in Forestville the Sonoma County Wine Growers held the 16th Annual Pruning Championship where 47 expert pruners from various vineyards and wineries around Sonoma County competed against one another for the title of top pruner. Our community of winegrowers and friends gathered together to celebrate our talented workforce. 

There are tough critics. And then there are really tough critics, of the Simon Cowell variety. Kirk Lokka, vineyard manager of Emeritus Vineyards, likely could fit in the latter group solely for his role as an “esteemed judge” Friday morning in the annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship held at Shone Farm in Forestville. The contestants were judged on the combination of their speed and the quality of their trimming of syrah grape branches in the Shone vineyards, which are part of the Santa Rosa Junior College property…The job is difficult, as workers must ensure the branches will allow enough room for grape clusters to grow evenly and spaced out enough to prevent rot and mildew. Decisions on how much to prune are not just made in the field, but include input from vineyard managers, winemakers and company executives who set targets for how much of a certain crop they need in the upcoming harvest…

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