Vine eyes screws.
September is wine harvest time. This is when we have the satisfaction of seeing the results of our hard and constant work in the vineyard. Making your own wine can be a pleasant occupation but it is also challenging. Furthermore, there is something very spiritual about getting in touch with the earth, with the cycles of the seasons and therefore, with yourself. Just follow a few tips, learn the right tricks and be endowed with great patience: these are qualities you will need in order to succeed in growing your own vineyard.
You won’t achieve the right results with little effort. Wine, as in refining and tasting, needs dedication. The first step of wine harvesting usually takes place in April or May, when the vine is planted in ploughed and fertilized soil. Spring is preferable to avoid the risk of summer heat or winter frosts that won’t allow the vines to grow properly. Vines are unproductive for the first three years, so you have to wait at least 24 months before you notice some change in the plant. The first grapes will appear only after three or four years.
Let’s get down to something more concrete: on a plot of land of about 500 metres, you will be able to plant the same amount of vines, prior to turning over the soil. Our advice is to always consult an oenologists or an agronomists beforehand. They will tell you whether your soil is too acidic or rich in salts and avoid you wasting your time on unnecessary hard work.
Also dig down 30 or 40 centimetres, before fertilizing, with the help of a rotary tiller (a three-thousand euro investment), or if you are lucky enough to own several hectares of land, it would be more convenient to use a tractor.
After preparing the soil, you must then build the structure, made up of support poles (the backs) on which the vines will climb. The poles at the ends of the row (so-called “header”) have a diameter of about 12 centimetres, while the central ones measure about half of that. They will be placed at a distance of about 5 meters from each other, inserted up to 50 meters into the ground, which you then need to raked and smoothened because it cracks during the winter . A zinc or steel cord will be fixed on the poles in order to join them together, at a height of about 80 centimetres. To ensure the vine climbs up the supports, you will need to drill some additional 30 cm holes, where to implant the young pruned vines.
Finally: Which grape vine to implant? It depends on the territory. If you are at a relatively low altitude, better varieties are more resistant to dry climates, such as Asprinio Campania, Abruzzo Trebbiano or Sicilian Inzolia; but if you want to grow vineyards on a hill, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Canaiolo, Abruzzo Montepulciano, Greco di Tufo and Tuscan Sangiovese would be the most suitable choice. The important thing is that you stick to the varieties indicated by Regional Administration Boards.