One vineyard manager says not to hedge your vines because it promotes lateral growth while other vineyardistos hedge their vines. Then there's Pete Anderson whose answer to most vineyard questions is, "It depends" and I'm appreciating the wisdom of his phrase as I gain more experience each year. I let the vines grow nicely this year and given ample winter rains withheld water (not only to conserve our precious wet resource but to slow the vines) and thinned lateral shoots from the fruiting zone. As summer arrived and temperatures rose I figured the longer shoots facing sunset would protect grapes from blistering afternoon sunshine so I let them grow. In fact, they offered too much protection as the vines grew long and thick they blocked not only the sun but flowing air and despite the best efforts of spraying every three weeks, and given the fact that neither neighbors Merlot Mike nor Coyote Karen on the very same spraying regimen have not one spot of mildew on their grapes, we have incubated mildew galore in the jungle areas. Armed with clippers in the pocket and hedgers in hand that put less repetitive stress on these aging joints, I snip, I trim, I cut, I hack and the Queen says the vineyard looks beautiful and I don't disagree and the purpling grapes have been opened up to airflow and sunshine and I make a note to not let the vines grow out of control next year as the Queen starts singing a song about how I should pick up the cuttings.