Every spring one of the major tasks that most rural Moldovans must accomplish is the pruning of their vineyards.  Although it is not a physically difficult task, it is tedious when you are taking about pruning even one hectare (~2.5 acres).  In our case, our host family only has 8 rows of grapes approximately 25 meters long behind their house; so it wasn’t a great deal of work.

There are apparently a significant number of different ways to prune a vineyard.  The method used depends on the age of the vines, the climate and individual preference.  In our case the plants are mature and have well established trunks.  The larger woody trunks are important as they help prevent loss to freezing during harsh winters.  During the previous years’ growth each trunk sprouted many branches or individual vines which we trimmed this spring.  Grape vines have “eyes” which, much like potatoes, are the beginnings of a new stem.  For each woody trunk we pruned all but two branches – one with two eyes and one with five or six eyes.  The logic is that the shorter branch will continue the development of the larger woody trunk while the longer vine will produce smaller vines where the grapes will develop.

Once all of the old and unwanted growth has been removed, each of the remaining vines is tied to the wires running above each row of plants using young pliable willows.  As a side note, one great thing about Moldova is the amount of natural materials they use versus buying something synthetic – case in point, using willows as string.  Once the vines are secured to the wire, the work is done until early summer.

**Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, and the information presented here is according to my very limited understanding.