Alongside the many hours of manual work, there is also the work that must be done with tractors and towed equipment. The bright blue copper sulfate mixed with water and lime is still one of the most effective tools for the treatment of downy mildew; the treatments are done once every ten years on average, but naturally the number can vary during years that are more or less favorable.
ANTONIO DEL TUFO AZIENDA DEL TUFO
Powdered sulfur is the substance best for combating powdery mildew, a subtle disease that weakens the skin of the grapes, making them split and rot. To administer it, it’s necessary to insert the narrow passage in the right moment: calm winds, temperature over 25 degrees celsius, preferably in the afternoon, avoiding the hottest hours so as not to burn the grapes that are still green. The cloud remains suspended on the rows, and the sulfur turns into a gas that is lethal for the fungus. It can also bother your eyes if you are sensitive to sulfur, and can cause your eyes to tear all night.
IVAN GALLO AZIENDA GALLO
In the vineyards that are impassable, the treatments are done the same way they have been for ages, with the tractors didn’t yet exist: shoulder pumps or rubber hoses to pull, connected to a tank at the beginning of the row, with the motor of a tractor that provides the pressure. It’s tiring work becaues of the weight of the rubber and the internal pressure that causes it to twist on itself, and requires the hand of someone who can make it behave. To use the rubber, it’s necessary that the grass is always cut, if not, going back means throwing a whole row of vegetation at you, and you must really have a special dedication to your vineyard to not give up.
FRANCESCO BOSCHIS AZIENDA BOSCHIS
At the end of the 1800s, fungal diseases that previously didn’t exist in Europe arrived from America. We didn’t immediately discover that copper and sulfur prevented the sicknesses, and many years passed before there were tractors that allowed the treatments to be applied quickly and evenly. For a long time the shoulder pump was the only tool. You prepared the solution of copper and sulfur in a cistern near the well and then you began to pump, maybe for two or three days in a row, singing to keep the rhythm.