I was pouring wine at one of our winter tasting room events and a guest, looking out the window at our Zinfandel vineyards, commented that they looked ‘dead’. Admittedly, wintertime grapevines don’t look especially alive once the canes have been pruned off. They are dormant from November through March-ish—depending on the type of winter we are experiencing. Once they begin their spring growth, what we call bud break, the whole cycle begins again. If you look closely at a dormant vine you can see details that tell its’ story. The canes are pruned back to two buds-next year’s crop. Look at what I call the ‘arms’ of a head pruned Zinfandel vine. Believe it or not they are positioned intentionally this way to support the crop as well as to form the vine arms in a pattern that best ripens our Zinfandel. The pruner, when cutting back the canes in winter, knows instinctively whether the arm is set for the right direction and will change it, if necessary, to groom for the best position. All this pruning has made me thirsty for some Zin!