At this time of year after we see bud break in the vineyard we then begin to see the rapid acceleration of shoots on the vines. As the weather warms up it's not uncommon to see shoots grow an inch per day and for this reason shoot thinning or suckering is so important. The purpose of suckering is to remove all of the unnecessary shoots in order to redirect the vine's energy to the most important shoots which then results in fewer clusters of grapes and greater concentration of flavors. Shoot thinning is also important to open up the canopy to allow better air movement and this helps to reduce the amount of moisture which could result in powdery mildew. Our vineyard team typically makes one or two passes through the vineyards to remove unwanted shoots, but we also have a long standing tradition of providing our employees an opportunity to learn about the growth cycle of the vines through our employee suckering event. Today a group of employees from all departments gathered before we opened the winery to do some suckering in our Taurus block of Merlot at the front of our Rutherford estate. After working the vineyards, we all gathered for a delicious breakfast in the Peju Kitchen before heading off to our different departments.