Half of Spain is on vacation. Everything, or practically everything, comes to a standstill in July and August in our country, except for the vineyard. These months are especially important for the vegetative growth of the vine and we must attend to it in order to obtain the highest quality in the next 2021 harvest.
Since May, in Ribera del Duero we have been working on the leaf mass of the vines, also commonly known as “green work.” What type of work is this? It consists of selecting and arranging the most worthy stems and clusters in order to obtain grapes of the highest quality.
During the winter, with the process of common pruning, we cut the stems, leaving only those buds that are invaluable for the plant to sprout in the following season, but this is only an attempted effort on our part since the plant, for multiple reasons, can sprout in other unforeseen places regardless of the tedious pruning process we undertake.
When spring arrives and depending, once again, on the climatic variables, the plant sprouts and requires us to make a selection of suitable stems. These are identified by their vitality, disposition, size, health, and will allow us to obtain exactly what we want: exceptional grapes.
The work is carried out throughout the entire vegetative cycle, from May to September. It begins by making a selection of those shoots that are not suitable mainly because they arise from buds that are not very productive or because they are located in a place on the vine that is not ideal for the formation of its main structure.
Once the cycle is at its more advanced stages, and with stems of approximately 70 or 80 centimetres in length, we intervene again by removing the “grandchildren” also called the “early birds” (or “anticipados”).
What exactly are the grandchildren or “anticipados”? They are unnecessary and strong stems, which emerge from the main stems laterally. These stems consume resources and hinder grape ripening. In addition, during this stage of the process, all those clusters that are not of interest are also manually eliminated.
Subsequently, in some vineyards, one or two trimming operations are carried out, which consists of cutting the tips of the stems so that they do not grow any more. This increases quality and avoids the risk of breakage. In order to do it in a respectful way, this work is done manually. It is very important that a balance between the volume of leaves and the number of bunches is maintained throughout in order to achieve optimum ripening.
Towards July, certain leaves near the bunches are removed to avoid condensation and humidity near the grapes. In this way we avoid having to use any chemical products. The air and the sun are responsible for ventilating, drying, and keeping the plant free of any disease.
In the last part of the cycle, especially in newer vineyards, we remove those clusters that we think will not ripen, or that cause us to have an excessive production. Thus, during the months of August and September, the fruit ripens slowly, caressed by the mild temperatures of Ribera del Duero. Meanwhile, the vines enjoy a light workload, allowing them to concentrate their efforts on those grapes chosen to be part of a new, unique, magical and exceptional vintage.
The countryside doesn’t stop, there are no holidays here. The vineyard prevails, and we are so happy.