Seasons are what most differentiate the world during the seasons of the year. With them we experience changes in climate, habits, food and even mood, which is why with the arrival of spring we will talk in this article about how this season, which enters on the 21st of March, causes changes in every way in the vineyard of Il Conte Villa Prandone.
“THE WEEPING OF THE VINE”
As spring arrives, a new cycle of life begins, bringing with it flowers, sunshine and warmer temperatures. During the winter, the vineyard was stripped of its foliage and remained naked and “dormant”, giving the landscape its characteristic barren appearance. Now, however, the vineyard is experiencing a slow awakening marked by the characteristic weeping of the vine.
But what is the weeping of the vine? Have you ever seen those beautiful pictures of bare vines with tear-like drops at the end of some cut shoots? This phenomenon, known as ‘weeping’, is the characteristic sign of the vine’s awakening, which unmistakably signals the arrival of the warm season. The phenomenon usually occurs between March and April, and it is at this time that the budding phase of the vine begins.
“WINTER AND SPRING”
Generally during the winter, when the plant is in its “dormant” phase, it undergoes “dry” pruning, i.e. pruning without leaves to select the branches that will bear fruit. Being in a lethargic phase, the plant has reduced its vital functions to a minimum. Between March and April, when temperatures begin to rise and the ground warms up, the vine slowly recovers its lymphatic activity. The resulting reactivation of sugar metabolism and the resumption of cellular activity causes the lymph to reactivate. The lymph begins to flow out into the areas where pruning has been carried out to heal the open “wound”.
It normally occurs from March to April, depending on latitude, altitude, exposure, nature of the soil, precocity of the variety, grafting combination, pruning time and weather conditions. Approximately one week after planting, the buds begin to swell, a clear sign of the resumption of growth of the buds they contain. Then the growth of the basal leaves of the budlet causes the perule to widen. At first a thick down produced inside the perule to protect the meristematic apices becomes visible, then the tip of the first leaflet. This is followed by the appearance of the basal leaflets, still wrapped around each other (visible leaf rosette), and then the stretching of the first leaflet and the lengthening of the internode underneath it, until it opens completely. At this stage the sprouting process should be considered completed.
“CHANGE OF TILLAGE”
As already mentioned in the introduction and stated in the previous paragraphs, the changes that occur with the arrival of a new season are varied and this also applies to the tillage and methods that must adapt to the new period. Once the winter is over and the vineyard has been prepared for the new season, the spring work in the vineyard begins. In particular, in this period, during the month of May, work in the vineyard continues with green pruning, a very important operation that helps to concentrate vegetative development on the organs that make up the productive structure of the plant.
This operation includes all the work of removing buds, shoots, leaves and bunches carried out during the vegetative phase and is carried out to achieve the following objectives
– stimulating the growth of organs that will form the permanent structure of the vine;
– to maintain the shape and size of the canopy within space limits that can facilitate the execution of the various cultivation operations;
– conditioning the microclimate of the canopy so as to favour the ripening of the bunches and ensure less favourable conditions for pathogen attacks;
In particular, in this period we proceed with “suckering” operations, i.e. the removal of those shoots, called suckers, which form along the stem of adult vines. Their presence is undesirable because of their highly competitive action against the shoots on the fruiting heads. Competitiveness increases in proportion to the level of development reached by the suckers themselves, which must therefore be removed early.