The rebirth of the vines in the spring is a true miracle of energy; the vine pushes to create new possibilities for growth. From the fruiting cane – the branch chosen during pruning – the new buds are born, sometimes in double or even triple. On the old trunk, which seemed lifeless, sprout the buds that can “bring back” the plant. It is in fact important to keep the plant close to the pole so the vines don’t take space and light from each other. Its boundary is between one stake and the next.
MARCO ZABALDANO AZIENDA ZABALDANO
Around the beginning of May, you need to intervene to regulate the vegetation, which is one of the most important jobs of the year. A plant that is not adequately cleared of excess shoots can wilt and die in the span of just a few years. This work also determines the choices you’ll have in the pruning phase when the shoots will have hardened into wooden branches. It is in fact possible to create the wrong choices by leaving shoots that are difficult to use, or to not create any possibilites at all by cutting too much; if you don’t take into account the inevitable losses that come from shoots accidentally breaking, you can find yourself out of options and unable to go back.
IRENE SCIOLLA AZIENDA IL COLOMBO
This work, which here is called scarzolatura, or “green pruning,” must be done with a certain speed because the buds can grow rapidly in the precence of heat and humidity, and dolcetto tends to “dirty itself” quickly – that is, the leaves quickly grow large, making the vine look like a bush, hiding the shoots and the growing grape bunches, making the work difficult and creating serious risks to the plant’s health. Cleaning a row of a hundred and twenty old plants can take one hour or three, depending on whether you intervene at the right moment, or several weeks later.
ABBONA CELSO AZIENDA CA' NEUVA
You need to cut the shoots without grapes from the fruiting cane, leaving one branch per bud if the others aren’t damaged by frost or hail; in cases of very close shoots, you can cut alternating buds to create space, leaving the longest branch in pruning. Finally, you clean the old trunk, leaving only what is necessary. Watching the speed and delicacy with which one who does this work well moves his hands is like watching a pianist play on an endless, extravagant keyboard. There is a lightness and agility that you wouldn’t expect, and that moves you.
WALTER SOTTIMANO AZIENDA SOTTIMANO
During this phase, you also cut the base leaves under the grapes, to make space for their decent as they begin to grow heavy, leaving them almost free and airy, without the danger that a leaf could stay closed among the growing grapes, putting them at risk of rotting. At a time when it seems like we only think about the present, and of exerting the least energy possible, this job requires us to always think about what will come after us, and of what could happen in the future. It is the lesson that effort is indispensible, an unwritten ethical treatise that one can understand without having had the chance to study.