Vineyards summer duties
best wines are made in the vineyards

Società Agricola Le Buche srl

The work in the vineyard does not stop during a calendar year. Every season has its works to be done, as we cherish our vines to obtain the best wines possible.

Summer, a season that usually rimes with vacations, rest, slowing down, is for us a very intense period in the winery, and more specifically in the vineyards.
Indeed, it is the season when the grapes have to do their veraison (change of color from green to yellow/red) and then a progressive maturation process until they can be harvested at optimal maturity.

Despite the belief one might have that we just let the sun and the heat do their job, taking care of the vines in this period is complex and will influence a lot the final quality of the fruit we will get at harvest.

Summer time in our area is very hot and very sunny. Nevertheless, the occasional rain fall or heat storm might bring temporarily an excess of humidity that can favor the development of plant illnesses like the well known mildew. Therefore we daily check all the areas of the vineyard to check for that and intervene if necessary. The earlier we spot a threat, the easier it is to stop it.

But the real intensive activity has to be done directly on the plants. Here are the most common activities in our winery during summer time:

- Topping: by topping we mean limiting the vegetative growth of the sprouts that are very vigorous. Indeed we want the vines to put a maximum of energy in developing healthy bunches of grapes instead of out growing the spurs. This pruning activity allows also to keep a good aeration between the vines and between the rows, which is fundamental to fight diseases and also shape the vine according to the chosen training.

- Deleafing or Defoliation is also a crucial activity. By removing the leafs around the bunches and therefore giving them access to more light, we want to favor a healthy maturation process. This will help the veraison phase (grapes changing color from green to red or yellow) and allow maturation of the fruit: sugar level as well as skin and peeps maturation for tannins quality.

The slower and more progressive is the maturation, the more complexity will be developed in the wines. So the art of defoliation is to provide more light the the bunches, but not expose them too much/too long to direct light to avoid sunburn. That means that each vineyard, based on its orientation and shape, will be approached differently.

- Finally at this stage, a Green Harvest may also be done, to remove small bunches or bunches that did not do a full veraison and that will not ripen correctly. Removing these bunches allows the vine to produce better quality fruits by concentrating sugars in the remaining health bunches.

As you can see, aiming at optimal quality wines is not only a matter of good weather and some luck, but smart thinking and hard work. Great wines are mainly done in the vineyard!

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