September is for sure the key month for winegrowers, when they can finally collect the result of their great work. Anyway, the wonderful bunches that right now you can see hanging down from the vines have not become so gorgeous overnight. They are indeed the outcome of a long process, which goes on all year around. But what are the vignerons doing during summer time?
Even though for many people summer means holiday, for winegrowers this clichè does not work. In fact, after the winter season – which is an intense period since it is pruning time – vines start out their new life cycle. This happens usually around March, when the temperature is a bit warmer. The process is then over after summer, when it is harvest time. So what are winegrowers doing during this 5 months? Well, there is a lot to do in the vineyards but let’s focus on the most important works. Vignerons have to take care of two main elements: the soil and the vines.
As far as the soil is concerned, the aim is to obtain a great base on which vines can grow. First of all, weeds which can take nourishment away from the vines have to be removed. This is usually done with specific tools or spraying herbicides. However, since lots of wineries are trying to respect the environment as much as they can, chemical products are often avoided. The soil is also moved a little bit to get aerated. Through this process, nutrition and minerals go also deeper in the soil.
For vines it is a bit different. They have to be at their best to produce great grapes. This is why winegrowers have to protect them from illnesses, bad bugs and fungi. Common diseases such as powdery mildew and downy mildew usually proliferate during spring, when humidity and moisture help them developing fast. Therefore, the first thing to do is to spray the vines with specific products before these fungi attack them. The second one, is to get rid of what can distract the vine from the productive bunches. An important phase during summer time is to cut the so-called suckers (polloni) which take nutrition from the vine without producing grapes. This process is often carried out by hand. Even if it is quite hard and labour intense, it allows the good bunches to reach a better quality level.
Another important task is to cut the extra leaves. Thanks to the good balance between sun and rain, leaves and branches can grow very fast, covering the grapes and taking away nutrition. For a better ripening of the bunches they are therefore cut away. For the same reason, it is quite common to walk toward the end of summer in the vineyards and find lots of bunches on the ground. This is due to the selection of the bunches winegrowers do to make sure only the best will ripe in a perfect way.
Now you know that September is not the only busy month for a winegrower. Nevertheless, all the different kind of works carried out during the year have a single aim: obtaining good grapes to have a great harvest. By the way, summer is also the perfect time to visit wineries and understand better how much work there is behind a bottle of wine. Would you like to give a closer look to the daily life of a wine producer and taste fabulous wines? Then join us on a private wine tasting or on a group tour and spend some hours in the Verona countryside.