The season has started in our organic vineyards: ready to dedicate ourselves to the new vintage!
Work never stops in our organic vineyards! At the end of March we completed the pruning activities in order to control the number of canes on each vine and ensure the production of high quality grapes. Following pruning we carried out weed management operations through slashing, an organic practice performed with a machine which loosens the soil around the root zone of each vine and removes the weeds while leaving the vine’s trunk intact. With the weeding operations completed, we could finally provide nutrients for our vines by means of organic and vegetal fertilizers and level the soil around the trunk base afterwards.
Everything has been set up for the upcoming flowering stage! On the vines we can already see some 20 cm shoots, 5 or 6 leaves and one or two visible clusters we expect to see flowering by the end of next week although when it comes to farming, the weather rules!
Compared with last year, we can say that the vines growth stage is approximately 10 days ahead of normal. The Chardonnay vines will be the first to flower, followed by Pinot Grigio and the other varieties later. The flowering period will last about 7 to 10 days. Based on when flowering occurs, we can anticipate when harvesting will happen, and this is normally approximately 90 days after flowering. This calculation is not the same for all varieties and is subject to weather patterns throughout the growing season.
Given the fact that almost all our vineyards lie on soils rich in rock fragments with low water retention capability, and also due to the low levels of spring precipitation in March and April, we promptly used irrigation to ensure a more even bud break, so that at harvest all the vines will bare equally mature fruits thanks to the same water uptake.
This period’s greatest challenge in the vineyard is fungal disease management, carried out using copper and sulphur-based fungicides allowed in organic viticulture. On-farm weather stations have been installed in our vineyard blocks to predict the best time for spraying. These stations provide real time weather data about rainfall measurements, duration of leaf wetness, air moisture, wind speed, solar radiation as well as air and soil temperature. Thanks to the readings obtained, last week we carried out preventative fungicide applications using recovery sprayers for additional plant protection. These machines in fact allow us to spray only the amount of mixture required as they recycle the spray droplets that fail to deposit on the target. This year our vineyards received their first spraying on the same day as last year, even if the growing stage is about 10 days ahead of norm, as previously mentioned. However, because of the near absence of rainfall, no spraying was required until now.
While we are eagerly waiting to see the vines flower, we are also carrying out another important vineyard practice, suckering, to get rid of unfruitful growth emerging from the base of the vine which steals nutrients from fruitful shoots. To successfully clear suckers we first rely on a machine and then complete the removal of any suckers left by hand to perfect the operation.
It’s a long way to harvest time, and we will take great care in tending our vines so that they will bear the excellent fruits from which our wines will be made!