Winter rest

After the great stress during the summer, ended in October with the maturation of the grapes, vines need a rest period in order to regenerate and recover energies, this period is winter. During the so-called winter rest, we don’t just wait for the vines to germinate in Spring, but we help the vines to recover their energies and the soil to regenerate through specific works.

The first work, once the harvest is over, is to remove the dead or sick vinesor the ones that, by mistake, we uproot: these vines are changed with new ones. During the summer, walking up and down the vineyards we already see and mark the vines that need to be removed so, once the harvest is over, we remove them and create a hole in the soil for the new vine. During the winter, thanks to cold temperatures, the soil receives more oxygen and crumbles, becoming more friable in spring when we’ll plant the new vines.

Spring operations are carried out using a tractor that, depending on its weight and tires dimensions, makes the soil more compact. My philosophy is trying to compact the soil as less as possible, using light tractors with wide tires in order to let the soil breathe “better”.

After having removed the vines we use a subsoiler in order to cut, lift and aerate the soil. This operation is extremely important because cutting the soil 40 cm deep we let air and water enter the soil for all the winter, which is fundamental for the microorganisms.

The next step is green manure crop seeding, a mix of grass (Gramineae) and Leguminosaethat, using their roots, renovate the soil and give carbon and nitrogen in order to increase the humus in the soil. Once these operations are finished, the soil rests until next Spring.

We are not finished yet in the vineyards, we still have to prune, clean the banks of the ditches from trees and prepare the vineyard for its germination in Spring.

Pruning begins with cold temperatures, when all the leaves have already fallen. We wait for this precise moment because trees, once the fruit is removed, are still working in order to increase inside the trunk a vital substance to survive during Winter a start once again in Spring. If we prune them in the wrong moment, we will stop this important process. Pruning is a very delicate process where you remove the old part of the vine and decide how it will be in the next years, its shape and the amount of grape bunches it will produce. In the same period we also prune the olive trees in order to maintain unvaried their production and quality.

Another important winter operation is cleaning banks and ditches. We remove those trees that in Summer could perhaps shade the vineyards or block water in the ditches. We have to safeguard the environment and the place where we live so that the future generations will enjoy a better environment than the one we found.

It seems winter is not a time for rest, or better only trees can rest, we have to get organized and work hard in order to prepare the vineyard to be ready and strong when Spring comes.