From the vine to production
From preparing the soil to bottling, every stage of production has a hand in instilling a wine with personality. Here’s a general view of the most commonly used methods in viticulture— the cultivation of grapes—and viniculture—the cultivation of grapes for wine.
The winegrower’s calendar
More than a seasonal job
The winegrower’s work doesn’t stop at harvest season. Following the cycle of the vine, they will begin to trim the vines at the onset of winter, and their work will continue throughout the year. Four to five years of hard labour is required before a crop can begin to produce grapes that are good enough for wine.
Following the seasons
Vine trimming lasts the whole winter. By decreasing the number of branches, the roots will only have to feed a smaller plant, increasing productivity and longevity as a result. The size will dictate the quantity and quality of the fruit harvested.
The work begins in earnest. The roots of the vines are exposed and the soil aerated. Excess buds are eliminated, along with the smaller unproductive branches near the soil. Steel wire is attached to the more pliable branches that need supporting.
The weeds are removed and the upper leaves cut (giving the grapes more light). Vines are treated against disease and insects according to precepts of integrated or environmentally friendly agriculture.
Samples are taken to check if the grapes’ sugar level corresponds to the potential alcohol level and to gauge the acidity level. The result will determine when harvest begins. After the grapes are harvested, the ground is worked to maintain the microbial life of the soil and to cover and protect the vine roots in winter.