Find the best options to ensure your wine is shipped with care during the warmer months | Learn More

Louis Martini Vineyard.


Once harvest is completed and the grapevines have gone into dormancy, our vineyard crew sets out for one of the most laborious tasks of the year. The decisions made during pruning significantly impact the rest of the growing season and the overall health of the vine. By their very nature, grapevines sprawl, and pruning restricts their growth to place the future fruit into a narrow zone, ultimately setting the stage for a successful vintage.

Pruning is the first touch on the vine for the vintage year and creates a domino effect for all subsequent touches, such as how we shoot thin and manage the canopy and crop size. It profoundly affects the quality of the grapes we harvest. Grapevines tend to spread, producing more canes and leaves than is needed for balanced fruit. It takes a skilled vineyard crew to restrict that growth and encourage just enough vigor for a successful crop.


The team of vineyardists at Monte Rosso, led by Brenae Royal, relies on their expertise and deep-seated historical knowledge of every vine, of which there are over 175,000 on the ranch. But there is more to pruning than cutting back the previous year’s growth and leaving behind the appropriate buds for the coming vintage — the balance and health of each vine must be appraised.

A Woman in the Vineyard.


Before picking up their shears to prune, the vineyardist considers the location and variables of the vine. Is it on a slope? How deep are its roots? How much water retention does it have? How healthy is the vine? What is the cane diameter of last year’s growth? Where are the shoot positions? How much fruit does the vine typically yield? These questions must be answered before making the first cut.

While ensuring that the future canes don’t impede on one another, the vineyardist must also safeguard each cut so as not to hamper the nutrient flow of the vine. These decisions can’t be rushed, and it’s not an exact science. It takes a keen knowledge of grape growing and familiarity with the vineyard year after year.

Walking through the rows of the old, head-trained, cane-pruned vines planted to Zinfandel on Monte Rosso’s Rattlesnake Block, one can see the pruning scars from each year, going back decades. These twisted and gnarled vines tell the story of the workers who first pruned them over a hundred years ago and (maybe more importantly) the workers of today, whose knowledge and intelligent choices have kept the vines alive and producing great wine.

2019 Monte Rosso Vineyard Wine.



Whether you choose a Monte Rosso Cabernet from the Crown Collection or a wine such as Gnarly Vine Zinfandel or Mountain Red from the Monte Rosso Vineyard Collection, you’ll discover a common thread that pulls through all Monte Rosso wines. The prized, iron-rich soil grows complex, age-worthy wines of extraordinary character found only at Monte Rosso.

Back to Top