Pruning the Vines

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This decidedly warm January is helping us to move more quickly through the agricultural practice of winter pruning. It is an important moment in which one determines the early position of every single plant, directing it towards the production of high quality grapes. Normally one works for a couple of months in the open air in temperatures around zero degrees Celsius, walking through frozen snow. The beginning of 2011 has shown itself to be rather clement, the snow melted and working in the vineyards has seemed less difficult, although over the last few days the temperature has dropped drastically. I do not want to dwell on the technical aspects of the pruning, but I would like to show you some photos of how the rows look following this crucial agricultural activity.

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Our business has adopted the Guyot pruning system, which we use for all of the varieties that we cultivate. It consists in choosing one suitable branch to fructify in the current year, leaving a number of buds that range from five to six for the Dolcetto and Barbera grapes up to eight or nine for the Nebbiolo. Then we select a small branch two-buds long, called a spur, which will serve to continue the production into the next year.

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Every vine has its own history and every plant will undergo a pruning that differs according to the situation. The older Nebbiolo plants, for example, are the most complicated to interpret, they produce few new branches and the vine tends to raise itself upwards.

Come to Langa and I will show you this fundamental practice in action!