It’s mid-August, the sun is scorching hot and working in the countryside is grueling. Most people are away on vacation, but for wine producers this is the period when the vines need to be directed towards maximum quality: it’s time to select the grapes in the vineyard.
One starts from the supposition that every plant is unique and each vine has its own story to tell. The guiding rule is to leave five bunches of grapes per vine. Bunches that are ugly or otherwise imperfect and those that are farthest away from the main stalk (whether vertically or horizontally distant) are cut. For the Barbera “Lirano Soprano” we have added a further criterion, and have cut the grapes hanging from the lower part of the remaining bunches, because these have a higher acidity. This procedure guarantees a better chemical balance when it is time to press the grapes. And so we have have left the vines with a very light load, permitting faster maturation because the sugars will now be concentrated in five bunches instead of twelve.
The grape-skin will become thicker, ensuring better polyphenol extraction during the process of maceration, and, what’s more, better resistance to fungal growth. August grape selection, carried out on the Dolcetto, the Nascetta and the Barbera grapes, could also be done for the Nebbiolo, but for these we have experimented with a different system, which we will show you later. The pruning is carried out with special, highly pointed shears that help avoid the inadvertent cutting of the grapes themselves, which would release liquid that could later lead to rot or fungal growth. So grape selection is not a task for just anyone, one really needs to use one’s head to understand the present situation as well as the future of every single plant.