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  • Writer's pictureMichèle Foster

Winter Pruning: Why So Severe?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

In wintertime, I find myself feeling a little sorry for the grapevines at the vineyard, which go from this in January:

Grapevines before winter pruning

To this between February and March:

Grapevines after winter pruning

The pruning looks severe, but we know that grapes grow on one-year-old wood. Buds on older branches just yield leaves or shoots. So, we get rid of the old branches so we can get fruit on every branch in the next growing season.

Another pruning takes place during veraison (fruit ripening period) in the summer. This is where the grape bunches are thinned out so that all of the bunches will be well nourished (and not exhaust the vine), and so they won’t be too crowded together, allowing air to move freely around them and keep them healthy.

There have been times in my life where I felt like a grapevine in winter – like life was treating me severely. But, in fact, I was being pruned so I could live a more vital and fruitful life! There are seasons in life where we need to let go of old things that are no longer serving us, and let new things come in that can revitalize us. Sometimes, when things or relationships are taken away from us, it is painful. Next time this happens to you, try thinking of it as a pruning. Consider that while it was a fruitful experience or relationship in its season, now a new season is here, and new things will come that will add to the abundance in your life.

Pruning is a severe but beneficial part of a grapevine’s life cycle, and it’s good for us, too.

P.S. Grapevine branches are great for BBQing! If you live near a vineyard, ask them to save you some branches next time they prune, so you can use them in your BBQ pit. :o)

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