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08.03.2017

Why the Vines “Bleed”

In the spring, the grapevine brings its powers of self-healing to bear

A look at the calendar accompanied by the rising temperatures makes it clear: the meteorological spring has begun, and nature is awakening from its long winter sleep.

For the winegrowers of Alto Adige, this time of year is associated with frequent visits to the vineyard, as the bending and binding of the vines is on the schedule. In the process, the bearing stalks are bent downward and tied and the vine is literally put into shape in order to achieve an even distribution of the young shoots. This step of the work benefits from the mild weather in the spring, since it prevents the stalks from breaking when they are bent.

A very special display can be observed on the grapevine itself in the spring: the vine “bleeds” because of the pruning that is carried out by the winegrowers in January and February in order to achieve a top-quality harvest. As a result of the increasing heat in March and April, sap comes out of the points that were cut, the “vine tears” – a sign that the vine is healing itself. The substances that are contained have disinfecting properties, they prevent the penetration of bacteria, and finally they close off the cut wound.

The healing effect of the so-called “vine tears” is even known in medicine. For example, Pliny the Elder (c. 23–79 AD) and Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179) report in their writings about the “beneficial properties” of vine tears and their use for people with various illnesses.
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