Tuscany countryside: pruning season, when the past and the future meet

To Prune a vine has the main purpose of controlling the quality and quantity of grapes that you will want to collect: this is done by acting on the number of buds that the winemaker decides to leave on the plant. Pruning causes a kind of landscape rather than another, head-training pruning will let the bare vines like as many soldiers at attention, and during germination the vine will tend decidedly towards the sky, while the “guyot” pruning, both single and double, will show the bare lives like an oriental dancer whose arms extend in a harmonious position and, during the summer, this view will tend to walk in parallel to the ground along the rows.

Doing a Winter wine tour, from Florence, in the winter you will see closely an essential part of man-vines relationship, in which every wine maker pruning vines, decides what he wants to obtain from dormant plants, but full of sap and promise.

The importance of the bearing buds

Agronomic studies have confirmed the popular wisdom, it says that the bears fruit lives better on the buds of the previous year; for example, the grapes harvested in the autumn of 2016 ripened on branches sprouted in the spring of that year from a bud on a branch that was born in 2015.

One of the most common ways of cultivation in Tuscany and in other Italian temperate zones is undoubtedly the “Guyot”, single or double, that is a rather low vine plant on which are left 1 or 2 long one year old branches which are called “fruiting”, from which the new fruiting branches will grow, and a shorter, younger branch, in Italian called “Sperone”, Spur, born in the spring just passed.

So pruning helds simultaneously the past, the present and the future: the past are all vines branches born in the previous season and which may be pruned, excluding what represents the present, the new year about to start, that is still the best branch that will be pruned, however, leaving 7-8 buds for the fruits of the next season; and finally the future: that is the spur, a branch on which they are left 2-3 buds: it will grow in order to give fruits the year after.

These days, the vine that has lost all its leaves, has accumulated all the nutrients in the branches, the trunk and roots, substances that are waiting for the first spring sunshine to start the great representation about Chianti wine and Super Tuscan wines, as if the vineyard was a large theater and every actress who lives right now is just … going over the script! So, come and see the backstage!