Looking for the best pruners

Looking for the best pruners
Looking for the best pruners

For the first time, local vine pruners will have the option to participate in two different contests that have the same objective: find the best. Another coincidence is that both seek to value this activity that is fundamental for the production of each vineyard. One is the one organized by the Argentine Wine Corporation (Coviar) through its Wine Development Centers, the National Institute of Agricultural Technology -INTA-, the company Agroconsulta and the participation of Bremen, an international tool company. The second has been held for ten years in the country and for three in the province in order to choose the best of all the wine-growing areas of Argentina, and is organized by Bahco, another world-class company. The Union of Wine Workers and Employees -SOEVA de 9 de Julio- accompanies here. and the municipality of that department.

It is also an incentive for this group of workers taking into account that it is increasingly difficult to find pruning equipment because the payment is not what was expected and other activities offer better remuneration, despite being a very precise and important practice.

The number one of San Juan

This First Vine Pruning Championship basically seeks to strengthen the sector through
the promotion of field practices, which will consist of two stages. The first is educational in nature with theoretical and practical workshops on pruning techniques. The second will be a regional competition between producers from different areas to end in a field day.

This week it was Media Agua’s turn and it will continue on Tuesday, June 18 in Caucete and on Wednesday in San Martín, each of these centers bringing together the main wine-growing areas of the province.

Once selected in each detailed area, the final will be held on July 27 at Bodega “El Milagro”, Albardón, with a great event attended by producers and the general public. There will be food trucks, regional products and entertainment space for those who accompany the competitors.

In this edition, the championship will bear the name of Mauricio Ortíz, Coviar’s general territorial coordinator of the wine development centers, who died days before the presentation of the contest.

Betina Tomba, agricultural engineer and regional coordinator of the San Juan Wine Center, explains that “the province has three Wine Development Centers that are located in the rural extension agencies of INTA. In each of them, the selection will be carried out by zone, first in Media Agua and the other two. In all cases, the
the agronomists Beatriz Pugliese, Hugo Carmona and Ramiro Cascón.”

Five winners will emerge from each center to settle the final contest between 15 pruners. Thus one of them will win the prizes that have not yet been detailed by the organization.

Leandro García, from Agroconsulta, one of the private sector managers of this event, explained that “taking into account that pruning is one of the variables that defines production and that perhaps has been relegated to many difficulties, I sat down to chat with Fabiana Ponce de Coviar to analyze how to make this project a comprehensive proposal that included education, production and San Juan culture. I maintain that pruning is a profession that we must revalue, for that reason we are here with the Bremen company that has also joined as a sponsor.”

This international firm represented by Pablo López is a supplier of scissors, spare parts and many other accessories for the sector. “When the organization proposed it, the commercial sector decided to join immediately because it also has an integral purpose that includes education. We are going to provide the scissors and spare parts at each stage to guarantee good pruning and prizes for the winner,” López explained.

The vice president of Coviar Gustavo Samper and José Catuco Molina, director of the national entity, were present at the presentation.

The highlight of the entire country

The national pruning championship, organized by Bahco, a European manufacturer of scissors, saws, and other hand tools, will present the third edition of the Professional Vine Pruning Contest in the province. The event will take place on July 6 at 9:30 at the Cassab Ahún Estate located on 9 de Julio -200 m before the Villa-, with the collaboration of the Union of Wine Workers and Employees of 9 de Julio -SOEVA- , and the municipality of that department.
This third edition of the contest in San Juan generates great expectations because it includes all the pruners who want to attend representing a winery or farm. Registrations can be made through this email: [email protected]

The participating pruners will have 30 minutes to demonstrate their skills before a jury made up of experts, who will evaluate the participants based on criteria of precision, skill, technique and speed when making the cuts.

This meeting is part of the regional pruning competitions that have been held throughout the country for more than a decade and which have been a success in their wide participation. It is an opportunity for professionals and amateurs of pruning.
In Argentina, the Bahco firm begins this competition in the province of San Juan in 2022, as part of its corporate social responsibility activities, and today, this is already considered part of the tradition among Argentine pruners.

In this context, and as a recognition of the importance of good pruning and taking into account the positive experience that these competitions generate and their effective impact on viticulture, Bahco continues to organize them year after year, promoting the improvement of the profession in the different Argentine wine regions.

The prizes they allocate are highly desired since they are complete sets of tools for the winners.

Pruning: Art and technique

Without a doubt, pruning is an ancient and fundamental work in cultivation that is carried out before the vine wakes up from its winter, and which consists of cutting the branches or ramifications to give it shape, vigor and increase production. It is vital for the next and subsequent harvests as well as for the long-term evolution of the strain. It is a complex and delicate practice in which various factors must be considered.

Beatriz Pugliese, agricultural engineer, explains that “pruning is a practice that allows parts of the plant to be eliminated – shoots, arms, parts of the trunk, among others – in order to modify the natural development of the vine, adapting it to the needs and producer interests such as production, quality or balancing vigor.”

In addition to this concept, the professional member of INTA, member of the jury of the provincial competition and coordinator of pruning courses, announced the benefits of good practice:

* Maintain a balance between fruit production and wood production.
* Harmoniously distribute the load elements (guides or pins) in the plant to obtain economical and uniform production.
* Establish and maintain the shape of the plant according to the chosen conduction system.
* Fruiting pruning allows you to achieve regular and constant production (quantity and quality) so that the crop is economical.
* Rejuvenation pruning: Removal of aged parts or parts with wounds or scars. To recover the productive capacity of the plant.
* The variety must be taken into account and its ability to produce fruit and wood (vigor) must be estimated.
* If the plant has shoots with normal vigor and mature, it means that the previous pruning was correct. The same number of buds must be maintained.
* If the shoots are few, thick, flattened, very vigorous and with long internodes, and also with many suckers, it is indicating that the previous pruning was poor. Under these conditions the plant oriented its activity towards the production of wood and not fruits. The new pruning should be richer.
* If the plant shows symptoms of weakness with short, thin shoots and short internodes, it indicates that the previous pruning was very rich. The plant produced many clusters but of poor quality. Pruning will be poor, reducing the number of buds to leave.

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