Grapevine & Wine 04/05/2009

A good pruning prolongs the life cycle of the vineyard

An old philosophy in the vineyard management is back in vogue. With small cuts on the younger wood the grapevine can be productive for more than 50 years

Old pruners knew how to preserve the health of a tree. They paid attention with care and dedication to any grapevine, studied it in detail and intervened with a soft pruning, made of minor aimed interventions, tree by tree, with no anxiety for an immediate exploitation, with the far-sightedness of preserving the health and the slow and balanced development of their small vineyard.

The method requires to only and always prune the younger wood with a slow approach. The first advantage consists in preventing the wood diseases, that are compromising the vineyards like a pandemy. This also means recovering a partially abandoned philosophy of management of the vineyard, which valued the old grapevines, thus increasing the yielding. Costs are lowered too, because the application of the criteria of preventive medicine to the trees allows them to grow and age well. Last but not least, an old profession which was becoming less and less practiced is recovered: the pruner.

Nowadays, the labor in our vineyards is mostly from abroad and often inexperienced, although willing. The demands of modern viticulture have also imposed the importance of the role of mechanization processes and intensive production.

The twenty years long experimentation of two agronomists from Friuli, from 1988, reveals instead that the longevity of the grapevine depends in particular on a correct pruning, where no vital part of the tree is hurt. The sapling cultivation, typical of the Mediterranean is characterized by a long life thanks to the prevalent pruning of the younger wood.

“Protecting the integrity and vitality of old grapevines – says Prof. Scienza from Università of Milano – is important not only for the quality of wines or for the interest for the landscape and for the culture, but also because they represent a fundamental reserve for biodiversity”.

di T N