A Sucker Born Every Minute

DSC_0509It is a truth universally acknowledged, that shoot growth in response to warm temperatures increases accordingly- and thus, a sucker is born every minute.

I know, you’re dying to find out what could possibly be the subject of that random mash-up of Jane Austen and P.T. Barnum (possibly inspired by a touch of heatstroke from the warm weather).


I said, it has been rather warm with temperatures in the 80’s, and the warm temperatures make the new shoots grow like crazy.

simple equation: warm temperatures=crazy kids (I mean shoot growth)

Some varietals, such as Viognier and Sangiovese, like to throw shoots from the trunk- the area between the graft union and the crown of the vine. We call these shoots coming off of the trunk- wait for it- “suckers”. The buds on the trunk that have been dormant up until now decide to grow, thus necessitating another pruning of the vine.

So what’s wrong with the little suckers? Well, they aren’t called suckers for nothing- they literally suck away some of the water, energy and nutrients from the main part of the vine. We want the shoots that come off the cordon or canes to receive the energy and nutrients, not the trunk; this ensures even top growth and proper fruit development. If we let the suckers grow, we would have to put more fertilizer into the ground and the whole shebang becomes a nightmare to manage. We do the trunk suckering at this time as the shoots are still green and are easily removed by hand- just running a gloved hand over the areas with the suckers and brushing them off.


If we wait another month or so to do this, we would need to break out those red-handled clippers to remove them- more labor intensive- and by that time, the suckers will have already drawn off some of the nutrients. Are there machines that can do this? Of course, there are machines that can do anything, but like many things that keep machines from making people obsolete, they cannot do as good a job as good old human elbow grease. The machines have a greater chance of damaging the outside bark of the vine and are not as thorough as hand suckering. When you have a large production vineyard, the ability to get through the pruning in a timely matter makes the machines desirable, but the size of our sweet little piece of paradise doesn’t warrant it.


So, at Naggiar, a sucker may not be born every minute, but they do die about every 20 seconds (in an 8 hr day).


A job well done. Death to the suckers!

 * On a side note,  I will no longer be using this wordpress address- we have a slick new website at naggiarvineyards.com that is through wordpress.  Supposedly, every one following me has been imported to the new site, but my last post was a little quiet, so I’m putting this out there to cover my bases 🙂


About dwdirwin

Wife of Naggiar Vineyards winemaker Derek Irwin, mother to 4 active kids and one dog and newbie blogger!
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13 Responses to A Sucker Born Every Minute

  1. This is so interesting. A lot about “life” could be learned from this vines. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branch.”
    Your pictures made me think of that. This is so interesting.

    • dwdirwin says:

      Thank you for the kind comment! While the winery I write for is in the Sierra Foothills, my family and I live in Napa so the vine and branches is a very pertinent symbol in our church. Our blog address changed so you won’t see any new posts at this wordpress address. But I’m happy I found yours 🙂

      • Please send the link for your new link. It’s interesting to read about your vineyard. I enjoyed what I read.
        Thank you for the compliment. I do want to pass along Gods blessings to me to others so they may experience freedom too.

      • dwdirwin says:

        It’s just what I needed and when- just another example in things happening in God’s perfect time. He knows when we are ready. The address is naggiarvineyards.com It’s just the winery’s website but click on the blog link. Thanks 🙂

      • God is so wonderful. As we seek Him, He will lead us to His plans, for our hope and future. Thank you, I check it out.

      • I checked out your site. I enjoyed your stories of the process of growing the vines. I am interested in reading more about the growing, caring for, and harvesting the vines. It helps me understand the references in God’ Word.
        But I don’t drink, so I don’t need a site to order wine. Uh-oh.
        I could say it’s because of my religious upbringing. But it’s really because I have learned about myself. Due to my food addiction past, and addiction behaviors, it would be so easy for me to become an slush, LOL, especially if it was sweet. So I stay away from what could become another temptation/ addiction.
        I’m more interested in the process of these growing and caring for these vines and the lives of those that do so.
        I suggest more writing about that for us non drinkers. LOL.
        Please forgive me if I offended you, not my intend. I want to learn more.
        Thank you for listening ,

      • dwdirwin says:

        Haha- thanks for the comment and for reading my other posts and I’m not offended at all. For some reason, I’ve never felt I would have an issue with alcohol- I think it’s because food is the only thing that did it for me. I’m not really a big drinker myself 🙂

      • Oh, q
        I don’t drink because I have an addictive personality. That means anything – Right now Hubby thinks I’m addicted to my cell phone.
        I tell him, “Bury me with it, a Bible, and a piece of birthday cake. I want birthday cake and ice cream at my funeral. After all, it’s my party. Ha ha!

  2. Amir.H.Ghazi says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog, dear lady!

  3. This is so interesting…Thanks for going to my blog, dear woman!

  4. hellodewww says:

    Wowww I wanna visit there someday!

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