Pruning Shears

Vineyard managers, workers, and winemakers don’t venture far into the vineyard without their pruning shears, often carried in a leather holster attached to their belts. These pruning shears were among the many used at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in California’s Napa Valley in 1996-97 for a variety of grapevine management tasks. Regular tending of the vines is an essential part of viticulture practice and helps ensure a good crop, the foundation for good wine.
Pruning dormant vines in late winter is one of the most critical tasks. A pruner has to know what to remove and what to leave, and how to make an efficient, clean cut. This skill requires knowledge of the plant as well as the desired balance for shoot growth and fruit production. Pruning during the growing season helps maintain the shape of a vine, training it to adhere to the vineyard’s trellising system. While machines are often used on very large vineyard tracts, workers using hand tools accomplish pruning and trimming year-round on the smaller estate vineyards in Napa.
Currently not on view
Object Name
shears, pruning - short handled
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
manufactured (overall production method/technique)
overall: 2.5 cm x 26.4 cm x 13.5 cm; 31/32 in x 10 13/32 in x 5 5/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Agriculture
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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