Grapes continue to be picked for months in Napa Valley, but pruning is needed while the vines “sleep” for the winter. And for some of those who do this job, there was a prize at the end of the scissor.
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, an arm of trading group Napa Valley Winegrowers, announced on Saturday, February 5, the winners of its annual Napa County Pruning Contest helping out at Beringer’s Gamble Ranch Vineyard.
About 90 winegrowers took on the task – each of the participants pruned five vines in the preliminary round of the day. Those with the highest scores progressed to the final round, which produced the winners: 4 for women and 4 for men.
The wine growers took home cash, pruning tools, clothing, gift cards, and other prizes; First place winners were presented with a handmade silver belt buckle. Employers typically match cash prize winnings, the group explained.
“The Napa County Pruning Contest highlights the talent, skill, and precision of our local winemakers,” said Arnulfo Solorio, partner at Silverado Farming Company and vice president of FWF, “and I’m poised for another 20 years.”
Many had successfully competed in internal competitions within their own companies before advancing to the national competition.
“Participants are passionate about improving their skills each year and measuring themselves against their peers,” said Rolando Sanchez, general manager of Walsh Vineyards Management and a member of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation Education Committee. “The pruning contest is an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to quality viticulture in Napa Valley.”
Support for this event was provided by sponsors Central Valley Ag Supplies, FELCO/PYGAR USA, Martinez Orchards, Nemerever Vineyards, Pulido-Walker, OLE Health, Silicon Valley Bank, A&J Vineyard Supply, Ag Health Benefits Alliance, Brotemarkle Davis & Co., Copper Cane Wine & Provisions, Duarte Trees & Vines, John Derr Farming, Green Valley Tractor, Michael Wolf Vineyard Services, Renteria Vineyard Management, Novavine, Silver Oak, Sunridge Nurseries, Taddei Vineyards, V. Sattui Winery and Vineyard Industry Products.