Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Pruning Shears

Pruning Shears

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
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.
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
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object