The vine starts looking good in May with green pruning
It’s May and the vine starts looking good! It’s the start of a very important phase for our vineyards: the spring air has given life to the shoots. It’s as if they’ve been reawakened, with their bleeding, after the long winter. For us winemakers, May means paying particular attention to the vine. Our task is a very delicate one, as this is the exact period when the vine needs to be prepared so that it can give us the best fruit. So, with love and knowledge, we get ready for “green pruning”.
What is “green pruning”?
Green pruning is a delicate procedure which consists in removing all the unwanted parts from the shoots, in order to allow a harmonious development of the plant. We could define this as the creation of a work of art.
The viticulturist removes the extra leaves from every shoot, giving more balance, as well as older shoots, if necessary. This phase is very important because the correct ripening of the bunches of grapes depend on it, which is why it must be carried out very carefully.
For example, the leaves shouldn’t overlap, the height of the vines should all be the same and the fruits should be well distanced from one another. Green pruning also assures the correct growth and care of the vine in the following months. It allows us to carefully monitor the ripening of the grapes and to carry out all the necessary treatments, such as the distribution of anti parasitics.
The phases of “green pruning.”
Green pruning involves interconnected phases, which follow a specific chronological order:
- The removal of the buds from the old shoots: this phase is called suckering.
- The removal of excess leaves, or leaf pulling, to guarantee the shoots receive the correct amount of light and air.
Suckering and leaf pulling must be done in the month of May, if the weather conditions allow for it. This is the best month for the buds.
Suckering allows us to remodel the shoot, removing the buds (or suckers) which grow on dry branches. It is a delicate procedure which goes hand in hand with leaf pulling, which involves removing the buds growing on the shoot up to fifty centimetres from the ground, as well as excess leaves which take away air and sunlight from the plant. By doing this, it is also possible to reduce the amount of humidity within the vineyard.
Suckering and leaf pulling allow for higher quality fruit, at the expense of quantity, which is inevitably reduced.
The two procedures which follow the ones discussed above are equally important, and we’ll further discuss them in the following months.