Pruning with Connor Book, CCOVI Brock Student
As we shift our gaze up the snowy hillside, we see a lone figure in full winter gear, working his way along a vineyard row. Say “hi” to Connor Book, a soon-to-be graduate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute programme (CCOVI). Connor’s in his third year with Malivoire and today he’s one of a team spreading out to prune more than 25 hectares (or more than 60 acres) of vineyards...which is about 87,000 vines – each personally handled with care!
Let’s get to know Connor a little better with 3 quick questions...
1. Connor, you just came back from a student-placement in British Columbia, what did you enjoy the most about it?
Answer - You can't go to the Okanagan Valley without talking about the mountains and the views. Every direction you looked there would be vineyards, wineries or mountains. I tried to go to as many wineries as possible and sample as much wine as I could to compare it to the wines here in Niagara, so that was a lot of fun. As for my actual placement at Burrowing Owl, it was an awesome place to work. I learned so much from the winemaking team and they were great at showing me how everything was done since this was my first harvest.
2. What is the most challenging thing for you during the pandemic?
Answer - The pandemic will definitely make completing my thesis a bit more difficult. I've just started getting into it and trying to organize meetings. Figuring out how to safely work in the labs at Brock adds some complexity to it.
3. Do you like pruning and why, either way?
Answer - Pruning is one of my favourite jobs in the vineyard. It's been quite cold lately but I prefer the cold over the 40-degree humidity of last summer. It gives me a nice break after the craziness of harvest and lets me go back to listening to podcasts and not having to work 12-hour days. It's a good place to clear your head and just focus on the vine in front of you, because if you look around, there probably isn't anyone nearby.
Note: These pictures were take just before the snowfall.