When to cut down grape?

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Q: I live in Crofton, B.C., on the north side of Maple Mountain. Sheena Adams wrote a fine article on grapes. I planted mine this year, and she stated the first year they should be cut down to the size they were when planted.

My question is: When do I cut them down? The leaves are still green. Do I wait until they die back naturally or have a frost, or do I cut them now when I am doing my fall cleanup. Thanks. —Cheryl

Living in Crofton offers fairly mild winters, so the open season for grape pruning starts early fall and continues through to early winter. If time were an issue, it really could also be done in early spring. I prefer to have all my pruning done by mid-November; so, if possible, try to aim for that.