How the vineyard is worked during the course of the year

pubblicato 31-01-2023

How the vineyard is worked during the course of the year

Working on a vineyard is an art, and here at Carpineto we do it meticulously since generations. The passion and care we pour into our terrain gives us back unique grapes that produce our unmistakable wines. During the course of a year a winery goes through a lot of phases, and we are here to illustrate the general procedures of this craft that we have mastered in more than 50 years of experience.

Starting in January, the first activity is winter pruning in the vineyard, which usually lasts until March. This procedure can be started as early as November-December depending on climate. 

For vines in production, dry pruning serves on one hand to find the right balance between grape production and vegetation (i.e. leaves and vines), on the other hand to ensure that the plants do not hinder people, equipment and machinery during the work.

After the winter, when vine goes through pruning, it reacts with its "weeping" (colorless and rich in minerals and hormones) to the effects of the spring sun which, by heating the soil, pushes the dormant lymph towards the ends of the stock; for a few days, in a vital drop by drop, the pruning cuts exude this sap until they heal completely. 

During the spring rebirth, we proceed with the first "working of the land"; it moves the clods of earth closed on themselves from the previous autumn, which further heats the soil and consequently the roots.

The land will continue to be worked throughout the cycle, according to the growth rate of the herbaceous plants and the necessary maintenance of good circulation of air and rainwater towards the deep layers of the soil and the roots. 

During this soil reworking process, the Carpineto farm does not use pesticides or other chemicals. Importantly, our crops are grown in the legume vineyard with native green manure grasses that help increase biomass and promote insect biodiversity, as well as prevent soil erosion. 

In the lethargic phase, the plant had reduced its vital functions to a minimum and now the lengthening of the days marks the return of spring and the restart of the vital cycles in the vineyard. Despite the rising temperatures, very dangerous frosts can occur.

Light rains and the warmth of the spring sun are enough to make the branches grow by centimeters per day. 

The rows thicken, becoming a dense forest and even the leaves develop an intense green color. The men follow and second their rhythm: they clean the earth from the weeds and raise the branches towards the sky with the tying of the branches, in several stages. The aim is to support them delicately, preventing them from breaking under the weight of the bunches or due to the action of the wind.

There are several operations to do to prevent the vegetation from thickening too much so that the bunches receive light in the optimal quantity, are well ventilated and ripen in healthy conditions: Before flowering, the staggering is done to eliminate sterile shoots or those that grow in unwanted positions with respect to the training system.

We proceed with the topping to eliminate the tips of the shoots by the end of June/mid-July. In August the harvest begins in the vineyard and can continue until October: it is the apex of the work in the vineyard, the time to reap the fruits of all the effort spent in the previous months.

The harvest, in addition to pruning, takes up most of the time (and costs) of each winemaker. After the harvest, between November and December the leaves of the vines lose their chlorophyll and then fall off and the plants begin their winter rest phase. This is the time to protect the vines from the cold while, at the end of the year, a new year can already be inaugurated by starting the winter pruning.