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Monday, 26 March 2012

Almost Finished Pruning

I finished pruning the vineyard in Carabaña over the weekend. This vineyard is planted to Airén and Tempranillo, all mixed up at random!

Vineyard in Carabaña all pruned

It's rather strange that the vines haven't started 'crying' yet. Usually around this time, the vines come out of their winter dormancy and the sap, stored in the roots and trunk, starts flowing. You can tell because it drips out of the cuts left by the pruning for a few days until the vines heals itself.

pending: photo vine crying from last year

I have a few theories:

1.As we're in the middle of a drought here in central Spain, maybe some self-defence / survival mechanism has kicked in and the vines are holding back the sap, or not sending it to the extremities?

2.Maybe they're just late this year. The buds haven't even started to swell yet

3.It's happened already, but I haven't noticed? Unlikely! surely I would have noticed!

Semi-wild roadside vines on the embankment

Another semi-wild vine
These vines are semi-wild! They're growing on the embankment beside the local road from Carabaña to Villarejo, which runs right next to the vineyard. Usually we pick these grapes only if we have time, and have the energy to scramble up the embankment through the undergrowth. So I thought this year I'd clear away the grass, etc, to make access easier. I also pruned the ones down low, but I just left the top ones to run wild(er) and see what happens.

Vineyard in Villarejo, last year

Anyways, now onto our other vineyard in Villarejo. We actually started, last week, but we only did about 100 vines. Another 400 or 500 to go. This vineyard is planted to Malvar.

We have an added complication in this vineyard. For some reason, almost all the vines have shoots coming out of the trunk from below ground level. (Sorry, I have no photos - will remember next time). So the quick-n-dirty solution would be just to quickly snip them off at ground level. But they would probably sprout again over the spring/summer, taming energy and nutrients away from the productive shoots up top, and making access difficult, and creating humidity by blocking the wind and sun! What we really should do (and what we've in fact done so far for the first 100 vines) is to dig down, expose the roots, and snip them right at the base where they grow from. That way they shouldn't grow back.

This takes about 10 minutes per vine, more or less, two people (one digging, one snipping). Which means 6 vines/hour, which means 50-60 vines/day, which means 8/10 days. Hmmm, maybe doable, maybe not. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

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