Many vineyards in Dogliani still use the ancient framework of wooden stakes, that must be checked for stability every spring. Before being planted, the tips of the stakes are burned or dipped in copper to protect them from mold and microorganisms in the soil. When they begin to rot, they must be pulled out of the ground and the tips re-treated before they are planted again. The billhook and the iron stake – now substituted by pliers attached to the tractor – are the tools used. One must also check the metal wires that allow the vines to climb, and that are often still tied to the stakes with wicker that must be re-examined. Stakes, wires, and vines are all tied firmly together, ready to support the broad cover of leaves and the weight of grape bunches as they face changes in the weather, strong winds, storms, and the dreaded hailstorms.
Staking in the old vineyards is always an enigma; one never knows when it will be possible to do it. The ground must not be too hard, or the stake won’t go in, nor too soft, otherwise you won’t be able to enter the vineyard in a tractor. The pliers attached to the tractor drive the stakes into the ground, but when the stake gives too much, you have to be ready to change it, always keeping a new one handy so as not to waste precious time.
LUIGINO ABBONA LA FUSINA
Dispersing the supports in a new vinyard on a slope where the soil has recently been turned over can be difficult. The trailer turns sideways and can pull down the track. In that case it’s best to stop and continue to dispurse them by hand until the sun dries and warms up the soil enough that you can safely begin again.
MARCO ZABALDANO AZIENDA ZABALDANO
The disorder of a vineyard propped up by stakes of young chestnut that follow their own shape, each one different than the other, is juxtaposed with the meticulousness of the new vineyards, in which it is a point of pride to have the supports planted with absolute precision. It is not only a question of wanting to show off one’s expertise in the work, but also the need for a regular path that allows the new mechanical processing of the foliage framework.