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During the whole of 2017, each month we will tell you what’s happening in our vineyards and in the winery. We start now with winter pruning, which is the important work that takes place in the cold days of January.
After the harvest, the warm autumn hues of the grapevine leaves create breathtaking views that can be viewed along the Prosecco road of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene. But it’s a spell that lasts only a few weeks, for when the first frosts arrive the vineyards drop those leaves, leaving the vines exposed for a more stark tableau of a cold winter color.
With the arrival of the low temperature the plant enters a state of lethargy which will last throughout the winter: it is during this hibernation period that it is best to do the “dry pruning” an important agricultural practice to give the vine the appropriate recovery time for the annual growth cycle.
In the winter the vines are bare, giving optimal visibility for the pruning shears to select the best shoots for trimming while leaving the best vine branches for the production of grapes, a very important factor that affects both the quantity and quality of the grapes.
By the time springtime awakes the vineyards with budding leaves, the correct number of buds will appear on the selected branches of the vines, and this will ultimately decide the number of blossoms and grape bunches that will ultimately be harvested. Too high a yield is not conducive to the production of high quality grapes, because it does not allow an appropriate level of maturity. On the other hand, an excessively low number of clusters is counterproductive, because a too rapid maturation would be detrimental to the adequate accumulation of phenolic substances that create the structure and color of the wine.
In addition, the winter pruning ensures the longevity of the vine itself and controls how they develop within the allotted space in their row. The farmer must control the growth of their plants according to the form best suited to the soil, the hillsides, and he must avoid excess foliage so as the grapes can back in the sun as they so love to do.
Pruning is especially important for vines in their first year in the vineyard. In fact, young plants suffer a cut called “training,” which helps to orient their development during subsequent seasons.
Follador vineyards adopts the pruning system called “double inverted” which provides for two larger branches to be trained horizontally, to ensure their renewal the following year, while others with a greater number of buds are shortened, folded arc downward and tied to a wire placed at the bottom of the trunk. This is the most common and widely used technique in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Territory, the most suitable for the production of grapes that will become Prosecco.