Last week my father called me asking if I would like to participate to the birth of his new vineyard.
I was enthusiastic! I remember little and nothing about this process, made by my grandfather when I was a kid. So I immediately answered yes, I come! :)
The day was cold but sunny and my father had already prepared the ground for planting the baby vines. Usually you have to prepare the ground the day before the seeding (firstly cleaning it from the grass, wild trees and bushes, then turning over the soil to let it breathe)
When I arrived my father had already dig the groove (fortunately, I am not very good with the hoe). He had dig quite deep groove because the roots of the grape vines need space to develop.
Then what happened?
Before putting the grape vine on the ground he filled the groove with a little bit of fertiliser, to make more welcoming and rich the soil. Then we took the grape vines and arranged each plant in the groove, distancing a plant from another of about 60 - 70 cm.
Then we covered the groove with part of the soil, we poured a little bit of water in each plant, and covered totally the groove with the soil, pressing a little bit around each plant. At last we pruned the grape vines leaving two shoots per plant. In order to concentrate the energy of the plant to make productive the two shoots (increasing also the quality of the grapes).
Usually it is requested to wait 3 - 4 years before harvesting the grapes from a new vineyards (the plant need to grow and to develop in depth its roots in order to take all the nutrition from the ground and transmit to the "wine that will be" all the surrounding flavours). To help the growth of the vine it is required the setting up of a training system. It is necessary to direct the growth of the vines and to support the weight of the grapes produced.
Of course this is a traditional method to start a new vineyard, that in Cinque Terre is the only possible method due to the verticality of the territory. In other Italian areas, flatter than Cinque Terre, usually this process is mechanised.
So when you visit Cinque Terre, take a minute to observe the huge works made by the winemakers of the past and the present. And above all to taste and enjoy every single drop of the wine produced in this land. Unique.
If you like to discover more about wine in general and Cinque Terre wine in particular, not loose our Wine Experience! :)
I'm looking forward to seeing you soon!