Pruning grape vines used to be a tedious task, but a local inventor has just unveiled a handy new tool.
To prevent the plant from growing downwards towards the soil, the bottom of each vine has to be stripped of all the “suckers” growing off of it.
“Most people do it by hand,” said Patrick Koczan, who invented the CurVBrush.
“You have to bend down, remove all the chutes, walk to the next plants and then bend down again. Do it for a few rows and you’re going to feel it in your back, feel it in your thighs and your body will hate you.”
Koczan came to the Okanagan as a transient worker around 30 years ago and has performed all of the vineyard duties.
“This job was the worst to do, and I was always thinking there must be a better way.”
So to make the chore less stressful, Koczan designed the CurVBrush to save workers from having to bend over. It’s an aluminum rod with a stiff-bristled, semi-circle brush on the end to rub the suckers off.
“With this you don’t have to bend anymore,” he said, adding that it’s just as effective as doing it by hand.
He says the brush will last for 25 acres of vines, and brushes are cheap and easy to replace.
This is the first season the CurVBrush will be widely available after a year-and-a-half was required to secure the patent.
It is manufactured through a Canadian company called Felton Brushes. It can be purchased locally at Growers Supply Company Ltd., or online at feltonbrushes.com under their ‘specialty brushes’ tab.