Winter Pruning in the Vineyard: A Key Operation

Winter Pruning in the Vineyard: A Key Operation

During these winter months, when everything in the vineyard seems "asleep," one of the most important operations of the year takes place. This is a task we enjoy as it allows us to create and shape the physical structure of the plants, ensuring their vegetative and productive balance and, most importantly, their vitality over the years. In a simple word: pruning.

Pruning is a very complex operation that is difficult to systematize, but let's try to break it down:

When do we start pruning? In a world leaning towards heavy mechanization, this aspect is often overlooked, but we consider it fundamental! We begin pruning only once all the leaves have fallen to the ground, after the arrival of the first frosts, and never before the plant has prepared for its "dormancy." This way, we are sure that cutting a branch or a trunk will not cause imbalances in the plant. Additionally, after a year of work, why not take a bit of time? Another important aspect: pruning is always recommended during the waning moon phases when the sap flow is reduced, and the plant is more "slowed down."

How is pruning done? This question is quite difficult as pruning techniques largely depend on how we have decided to train our vineyard. For simplicity, we can say that it is done by hand, taking care to respect the plant, avoiding drastic cuts, and always working with the future in mind. This year's pruning ensures this season's production while setting the structure for next year's plant growth.

Is it just pruning? Absolutely not! Pruning is often associated with many other operations such as shoot removal and tying, which are done at different times for convenience but are closely related to pruning. The first is essential for clearing the support structure of the cut wood, allowing for the development of new vegetation during the season. The second is necessary for maintaining good control over the structure we have decided to give the plants.

What happens to the prunings? Although prunings, the cut branches of the vines, can be considered excellent natural fertilizer if composted and integrated into the soil, our company removes them from the vineyard and never reintegrates them. Often, prunings are a source of fungal and insect inoculum, which are difficult to combat. Therefore, to ensure the maximum health of the vineyard, we prefer to remove them and integrate organic matter and nutrients through other sources, which we will discuss another time!

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