Summer in the vineyard

Summer in the vineyard

From pruning to mulching

The shining green vine leaves contrast with the bright blue sky, the warm summer air and the tangy mountain breeze. For the winegrowers of Alto Adige, working in the vineyard always means being in close contact with nature. The knowledge of the different wine varieties and cultivation methods, the importance of the right terroir and everything revolving around winemaking is imparted by the renowned vocational training for winegrowers at the Laimburg College.

This includes the varied work that must be done in every vineyard each summer. The first step is the tying of the shoots. In this way, the winegrower ensures that the vine will grow properly, whether a trellis or a pergola training system is used. At this stage of growth, the buds are still barely visible. This changes as soon as the temperatures begin to rise. With around 300 days of sunshine a year in the region, the vines develop and flourish and soon the first leaves appear; these must be kept in check, however, so that the foliage does not overshadow the flowers.
Pruning takes place from mid-April to the end of June: this is mostly done by hand to reduce the foliage canopy of the vines. This in turn allows more sunlight and fresh air to reach the grapes, increasing their protection from disease. The removal of excess leaves and shoots also helps the vine to channel excess energy directly into the fruit.

It is not only the vine’s foliage that needs special attention, but also the underground part of the plant. The green areas between the rows are regularly mulched to make it easier for rainwater and nutrients to reach the roots and, thus, be carried to the tips of the leaves and into the grapes. This involves mowing the grass and lightly turning the soil. Most winegrowers choose to mulch in an insect-friendly way, alternately leaving one strip of grass while the next is mown. The old grass strip provides insects – and small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians – with a good source of food or additional cover.

In some places the harvest starts at the end of August and the grapes are already being picked, especially if they are to be used in the production of sparkling wine, such as the Chardonnay varieties.

Around 98% of the winegrowing areas of Alto Adige fall under DOC protection. This stands for “Denominazione d'origine Controllata”, i.e. Controlled Designation of Origin, and guarantees that the approximately 240 wineries and vineyards of Alto Adige adhere to strict regulations. These include the maximum yield per cultivated area, which plays an essential role in the quality of the wine.
© Header Photo: IDM/Südtiroler Wein/Florian Andergassen
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