At that point we were uncertain how well the plots would yield, but much to the surprise of many, the plots had a full yield. The reason for this was that the secondary buds were extremely fruitful and had as much crop on them as the primaries normally did. The reason for this was the vines had a low yield in the previous year and were able to allocate a lot of resources to the buds. These vines had been canopy managed in the previous year of low yields and were pruned by people experienced with determining which canes were superior. In this situation if the primary buds had not been frosted off, there would have been a bumper crop and if the season was long enough, the vines would have been able to ripen that bumper crop. Since the primary buds had been frosted, a normal cropping level was still achieved.
So the question is, which scenario will you encounter? It’s hard to say. If you performed proper canopy management in the low yield years and there was no winter damage, I would say you are more likely to be in scenario 2. However, I suspect more growers might be in scenario 1. In this situation consider leaving extra buds, but make sure to consider early shoot thinning after you can see how fruitful the shoots are, not when the shoots have gotten too large. This year, leaving high quality canes in less than ideal positions, instead of inferior canes in ideal positions, can also be an option to increase the chances of having a normal crop. Hopefully these practices will not be required in the subsequent growing seasons.