Press Release: Lake County Winegrape Commission Announces Second Year of Pruning School After First Year Sold Out

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June 28, 2023, Kelseyville, Calif. — The Lake County Winegrape Commission announced the continuation of Lake County Pruning School, which launched in December 2022 and sold out, benefiting more than 100 attendees. Presented in both English and Spanish, the immersive Lake County Pruning School is the first of its kind for a regional organization and was created in collaboration with Simonit & Sirch, the renowned grapevine pruning school with more than 30 years of research and experience, and a client list that includes some of the world’s preeminent vineyards.

In early June, the Commission presented Momentum 2023, its annual grower seminar at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport, California and highlighted the first year of Lake County Pruning School. The event offered a detailed overview of the program and its benefits for attendees. The Pruning School segment started with Simonit & Sirch Master Pruners Jacopo Miolo and Jett Johansson providing an overview of the program, which comprises a theoretical introductory online lesson and three days of practical hands-on lessons in the vineyard — two days during the winter for vine pruning and one day during the spring for shoot thinning. The program provides in-depth fundamental principles applicable to all grapevine training systems, such as controlled branching, vascular flow, cuts and crown buds, and protective spare wood.

Benefits of the program were discussed during a grower panel moderated by Jonathan Walters, Chair of the Lake County Winegrape Commission and General Manager of Brassfield Estate. The panel provided insights from five speakers, including Bruce Merrilees, Owner of Castilleja Farms LLC; Tony Medina, Ranch Foreman at Cache Creek Vineyards; Chris King, Vineyard Manager of Catspaw Vineyard; as well as Miolo and Johansson of Simonit & Sirch. The panel was followed by a practical demonstration held by Jennifer Thomson from FELCO, who showcased the company’s brand new cordless electric pruning shears.

“We are thrilled with the success of the first edition and look forward to enhancing next year’s classes with Simonit & Sirch” says Debra Sommerfield, President of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. “The delivery of classes in both English and Spanish allows us to meet the educational needs of all vineyard workers and we’ll continue with this approach for the next edition.”

Lake County Pruning School is designed for vineyard owners, vineyard supervisors and crew leaders, and experienced vineyard workers. Each class enables one-on-one learning and an opportunity to exchange ideas and techniques with others in the cohort.

Footage of the Momentum event can be found on the LCWC website.

2023-2024 Lake County Pruning School registration is coming soon. Spots can be reserved by emailing Lake County Winegrape Commission at

Jacopo and Jett from Simonit & Sirch at Momentum 2023
Photo by Nathan DeHart

About Lake County Winegrape Commission

Established in 1991, the Lake County Winegrape Commission has been instrumental in developing the Lake County region’s unwavering commitment to farming high-quality wine grapes, promoting the winegrowers’ brand, and creating greater awareness of the winegrowing region within the wine trade and among wine lovers. A state agency with efforts focused on marketing, research, and education, the Commission has launched innovative programs like Master Vigneron Academy®, the Elevation of Wine, and the International Sauvignon Blanc Symposium. For more information, visit

Many thanks to Lake County Pruning School Affiliate Sponsor

FELCO logo with red background

Daily Coffee Service Provided Courtesy of

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