Shortly after sprouting, we can see men and women in the vineyard gently handling the new shoots. They inspect them attentively and often remove one from the plant and let it fall to the ground, working slowly but surely. To the untrained eye their choice may seem random. In actual fact, a huge amount of knowledge and practical experience is required to perform this operation successfully.

The depth of intimacy that each winemaker shares with their vines is perhaps best demonstrated during green pruning. It is necessary to have a close understanding of each plant to know whether shoots, leaves or inflorescences will help to achieve the best harvest depending on the climatic conditions of a particular vintage. The operation of removing the chosen plant material is at the same time firm and gentle, non-injurious to the plant, and is usually carried out between budding and flowering. However, it may be necessary to repeat the process at different times in the growing cycle.

The path to harvest

Green pruning is considered to be one of the most significant tasks performed in the vineyard. It is at this moment that resources are distributed and the quality of the grape is pushed towards its best version. This is complemented by winter pruning, which could be described as one of its delayed phases. In winter, we explain to each vine the way we want it to grow and bear fruit and, with green pruning in spring, we help it to stay on course.

With this practice a balance is developed between the growth of green parts and the production of grapes, so that the two are working in unison. If the year is very wet, leaves are removed to allow air to circulate between the grape clusters. This prevents fungus, improves exposure to sunlight, and leads to ripening. If, on the other hand, drought is a problem, the leaves are left to grow. These act as a shield for the fruit and, with the shade they cast on the ground, help to minimise water evaporation, maximising the benefits of hydration. In years of extreme drought, when the survival of the plant is at risk, the grape load is often reduced in order to focus all energies on completing the growth cycle.

A multitude of tasks

Green pruning encompasses numerous tasks that must be carried out between sprouting and grape maturity. We follow the practices of our predecessors, our more seasoned winegrowers. The first of the tasks after budding is to thin out the unwanted shoots. These shoots are the ones that will not produce grapes or that have grown in the wrong place. They are known as “suckers”. Later, when in bud, the top of the tender shoots will be removed, where the growth hormones are concentrated. This allows the maximum amount of energy to reach the remaining shoots.

The winemaking team has started work within the framework of respectful pruning that we apply in our vineyard. They follow the lunar calendar and take into account meteorological data collected at our weather station, together with rainfall forecasts. In addition to the appropriate timing, the variety of the vine, the location and north or south orientation of the plant in each plot are of paramount importance. In times of adverse weather conditions, such as the present moment, it is especially necessary to personalise green pruning with every vine. This is how our vine growers gently handle the vines day after day.