In every season the vineyards have a characteristic aspect: the colors are alwasy different and the vine changes according to the cycle of nature and of the activities that we carry out.
In this period the dominant color is green, in all it’s shades.
All of a sudden vine shoots upsurge so the daily job is to concentrate on light pruning, gathering the growing vegetation within the wires, and thinning out the leaves to let the sun warm and ripe the grapes. This activity goes on May thru June.
In July the focus shifts to cluster thinning. Our main goal is in fact to get only a few clusters per vine to preserve and enforce flavours and aromas. Depending on the weather condition we also take care of pest control with the help of beneficial insects such as the lady bug. Sunny weather is a MUST, being the necessary condition to let the grapes ripen and become a beautiful shade of golden yellow.
September is the month of harvest, Moscato grapes are the first to be picked up, Dolcetto d’Alba follows and then the last to ripen is the Langhe Favorita. Vintage usually takes some weeks. Grapes should be harvested when they are perfectly ripened and full of aromas, that is to say when there is a perfect balance of acids and sugars. For this reason we regularly take samples of the grapes to test and analyze the content of sugars and acids. The vintage is completely hand crafted, therefore the picking of the grapes employs no machines. We can divide the process in three steps. First the grapes are placed in rectangular boxes, secondly they are brought to the winery and last they are crushed and pumped into the tanks.
In October the vines start changing colors, firstly turning yellow, then red and finally brown. In October and November, the average daily temperature decreases and the vines, little by little, will loose all the leaves.
At the beginning of November usually the weather changes and there are frequent rainfalls, so it is important to keep the water draining canals well cleaned, especially in the terraced hillside, to avoid erosion and land-slipping.
The atmosphere in this period is magic, the fog often covers all the valley in the mornings. From the top of the hills you can overlook the valley completely covered by a white blanket, that looks like a layer of cotton balls.
Only the top of each hill with its tower bell and a few houses remain sticking out of the fog in the bright shining sun. The landscape has the aspect of a fairy tale image: everything seems to be perfectly still , with no sound.
In this period the plant stops growing and starts to get prepared for the period of dormancy.
The colors are light green and yellow.
Sprouting grass and herbs, like dandelion, bloom and cover the ground between the rows announcing spring. Observing the parcel here and there you can see white and pink spots: the peach , cherry and almond trees are blooming. The Bee- Eaters migrate and start their nests underground.
Spring is the time when buds break. In this period our work is focused on the maintenance of wires and poles which are important frameworks for the vine growth. Next, we start tying the vine shoots to the wires.
Chemical treatments for fungi management are carried out only if the weather is humid and rainy because our goal is to avoid chemical intervention whenever possible. We start the chemical treatments only when phenomena exceed certain thresholds. For this reason we use a weather station in our vineyards to supervise and keep records of important information necessary to know when to act in order to prevent any diseases.
As soon as the temperature increases the insects wake up and lay eggs, some are beneficial and some are dangerous for the vines. Beneficial insects,like the ladybug, are eager eaters of many vineyard pests. Keeping the chemical intervention to the minimum level possible has two positive effects. Firstly it decreases the negative impact on the ecosystem and allows the creation of an hospitable environment for natural pest predators and, second of all, it implies a reduced use of chemicals preserving the environment. We follow this principle because we are convinced that agriculture must be self-sustaining and must maintain the tastes and flavours of our land.
We can consider winter as the first step of the biological cycle of the vine. It is in fact the period of inactivity of the plant and the colours are brown, grey and white.
The scenery of the Alps dominated by the Monviso , is the marvellous background of our vineyards; being an hilly area surrounded by the Western Alps, snowfalls during December, January and February are likely in the Langhe. Snow is extremely important for the vines because it works like a blanket, granting a water reservoir for the dry season when the plant most needs it. The soil, in fact absorbs all the water and keeps it in depth.
We dedicate wintertime to pruning, starting in December and finishing in February. It is important to pursue this activity when the vine is in a condition of biological rest. This procedure grants the advantage to keep vine growth under control in the spring. In fact, by keeping the vine adequately pruned, the plant will not disperse its energy in growing leaves and canes, instead it will concentrate in obtaining grapes full of flavours.
The pruning process has two steps: firstly the gross canes are removed and next our pruning experts will complete the job by limiting the number of buds.
This job requires a lot of skill; in fact only an expert knows exactly the number of buds to leave on the plant, to achieve the best grapes as a final result.
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