Wine Grape Pruning Expenses Slashed with Mechanization
George Zhuang is so close to his goal, he can almost taste it, and it would be as exquisite as the finest wine, writes David Eddy for Growing Produce.
Zhuang is a University of California Cooperative Extension Viticulture Advisor in Fresno County, where most growers have successfully implemented mechanical harvesting, so Zhuang and colleagues such as Kaan Kurtural, a UCCE Specialist in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, are tackling mechanical pruning.
“Here in the (San Joaquin) Valley, the biggest labor cost besides harvest is pruning,” says Zhuang. “If we can do mechanical pruning and mechanical harvest, there’s not much left, it’s called a no-touch vineyard.”