To produce natural wine: the jobs in Petracavallo vineyards

During winter, deciduous plants as the vine hibernate and the vineyard take the opportunity to rest, but this is exactly the moment when the winemaker have to act quietly among the grapes, carrying out those jobs that will allow him to obtain, at the end of the summer, a quality vine.

In Petracavallo, each processing step lets the circle of life happen without outside forcing, trying to contaminate as little as possible the balance and the harmony Mother Nature establishes between cultivated plant, ground and animals which inhabit the environment.

If the passion we put in producing natural wine make us believe strongly in our choices, our philosophy make us consider the transparence as the only added value that puts the consumer in the position of making an aware, ethic and not just esthetic choice.

That’s why we want to explain you the phases of production we conduct among the vineyards in rows of Masseria San Francesco and our blog always reveals itself to be an ideal space to tell what we do.

In winter, when the vineyard is asleep, it starts with the PRUNING, by which all the branches of the plant are eliminated except for those that will be the new fruiting canes for the following year, in order to facilitate the vegetative activity of the plants an their fertility, and let’s move on to the BINDING, to fix the fruiting cane on a support wire.

I parallel to these operations, we plan which processing and fertilizations to conduct in regard of occupancy of the soil.

In the past, aggressive practices were preferred such as the WEEDING, which means using chemical products that facilitate the elimination of the problem of weeds, but they’re really dangerous for the environment, for the vine and for the final product itself.

Petracavallo wines are born from more environmentally aware procedures like the PLANTING, spontaneous or obtained by the sowing of foragers poorly competitive with the vine, which then are periodically mown. In this way the washout is avoided and there are positive effects on the microclimate of the vineyard and on the soil structure, favoring the vegetation of the vines and limiting some diseases like chlorosis and the drying up of the rachis.

Another processing is ORGANIC FERTILIZATION, with which we transfer nutrients (nitrogen, potassium…) to the soil through organic fertilizers (manure), when it si necessary and the plant requires it, according to the deficiencies noted and without resorting to the use of chemical harmful chemical fertilizers.

In spring, we start with PESTICIDE TREATMENTS, that we repeat whenever necessary, usually until the end of August. For example, downy mildew and oidium are the pathologies that often afflict vineyards causing countless damages, copper and sulphur are the agents we use to fight them.

In the name of a “clean viticulture” we refuse categorically to use synthetic products which of course can protect the plant from diseases, but can leave toxic residues in the vine, in the grapes and, therefore, in the wine.

In May, we kick off the GREEN PRUNING, a set of fundamental operations to the growth of the plant, like the elimination of sterile buds present over the trunk and over the tendrils and the removal of leaves to facilitate the ventilation of the bunches.

In summer, finally, the vintner has to find the right time to harvest, and to do so he proceeds with the analysis of the must, through instruments as the SACCHARIMETER and the REFRACTOMETER  which permit to reveal the sugar content the juice contain.

Only once established the right degree of maturation, the the sacred ritual of the VINTAGE can start, leading to a new cycle of wine production that will have as main scenario the winery.

The annual cycle of works in the vineyard ends with a FERTILIZATION of the soil and a PLOUGHING, to nourish and aerate it: the vineyard may return to its well-earned rest.

We’re convinced that only starting from a biological agriculture we can produce a terroir wine, which express the perfect alchemy between climate, land, grape variety and viticulture, enhancing in the chalice the characteristics of the Apulian Bassa Murgia, its territory of origin.

Our winemaker Vito D’Onghia is entitled to the hard role of careful observer of the nature, of whom he has to interpretate the signals and indulge its needs without external aid, incorporating all his experience to obtain excellent results in bottle.

A decision that may appear as a difficult choice, because it implies a responsibility and more and more deepened expertises, but ultimately it’s only the fruit of a philosophy focused on love and respect for their land.

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