2013 will be remembered for its non-spring, intense, constant rains that kept up until early June. Another factor worthy of note was the cold: the temperatures were always far below seasonal average until 10 June.
Consider that in the mountains, at 1500 metres, it snowed at the end of May. Which is all to say that the first part of the season was extremely unpredictable. The impossibility of getting into the vineyards with our tractors, because of the frequent rains, forced me to plan hand-application of grape mildew treatments, using backpack mist sprayers.
Timely intervention and systematic observation of the leaves have never been so important as they have been this year. For this early stage of the new season, control of grass growth and planting grain between the rows have been a huge help, with the consequential water drainage and limitation of fungal infestation. From a certain perspective, the cold impeded the fast development of grape mildew, but on the other hand, it damaged a few bunches during their development phase as well as some of the more sensitive Barbera leaves.
This early part of the season has been really complicated, but I am nevertheless satisfied because we prevented the fungal attacks and limited damage. As you can see, vines can be defended without using systemic products or resorting to superfluous toxic products.
I am happy that the vines have been strengthened, as have my convictions about how to work in the vineyards. It was a hard test, as expected, but we succeeded in a big way.
And now that the second part of the 2013 season has begun, let’s hope that the law of compensation comes out in full force, giving us a splendid summer and autumn … touch wood :)