Pruning: Mechanization

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Winter pruning, along with hand harvesting, are the most labour intensive aspects of vine growing. During the 1960s and 1970s, increases in labour costs and reductions in labour supply in Australia led to experimentation with and eventual development of mechanical pruning. This in turn has led to the even more iconoclastic option of minimal pruning, or not pruning at all, although the latter is now viewed with increasing disfavour.

By the 21st century, a full spectrum of vine-pruning practice was evident around the world, from the hand pruning of a lower-vigour vine in a traditional vineyard to less than 10 buds, to one essentially unpruned following the passage of a machine, with hundreds of buds remaining, to mechanical pruning using a tractor-mounted circular saw.