It’s hard to believe that we had 4cm of snow last Friday; schools closed, market cancelled, the works. This last week has been full of wonderful crisp and clear days, with startling blue skies and beautiful sunsets.
Winter pruning started on Monday 2nd February, a “potatura soffice” meticulously performed by hand. Soffice in Italian means soft; it is an adjective most often used to describe sponge cakes, clouds and kitten fur. In 2014 we started in March, hoping for a late winter, but this year we have reverted to a more normal time-frame.
The vines at Le Due Porte are 60 cm from ground level. Since the vineyard is high altitude the level at which they are bent in an inverted L is closer to the ground in order to get more warmth from the soil below. Our Capa vines are circa 80 cm from the ground; it is a lower vineyard and south-facing so significantly warmer. Here the grapes need to be distanced from the soil to avoid being baked in summer. In either vineyard though, the pruning is back-breaking work involving hours of being bent double, scissors in hand. Two of our faithful chaps work alternate rows, while a third worker drags the straggly shoots from between the wires, and a fourth collects them in great piles.
At this time of year, the views are dotted by straight plumes of smoke revealing where piles of cuttings have been set alight.
I am planning to chronicle a year of vineyard and cellar work on Instagram #diaryofawine… see you there!