Have you ever thought you’d like a “do over”? In viticulture, it’s possible. The process is called “budding over.”
In the spring, when the vine is just waking up, the winemaker has a chance to change the type of grape that is growing.
At Reid Family Vineyards, we’ve gradually been converting some of our merlot vines into vines that are producing other varietals.
This spring, we’re in the process of budding over 4 rows of merlot to cabernet sauvignon. This post shares a few photos illustrating how it’s done.
We chop off the merlot trunk in the winter
strip the bark from the top quarter of the trunk in the spring
cut two notches in the trunk
carefully insert buds from the new varietal into the notches
and tape them in place.
Later in the spring, a shoots emerge from the new buds and the transformation is complete. It takes a couple of years for the vine to return to producing a full yield.