As quickly as harvest is full, vignerons want to begin making ready their vines and vineyards for dormancy.
By Bryan Christiansen
The winery cycle is cut up into 6 completely different levels all year long, every vital to the success of the grape rising cycle. The primary 5 levels are concluded with the annual grape harvest, at which period vines enter the sixth stage: winter dormancy. How the vines are cared for through the winter interval is essential for the success of the subsequent yr’s classic.
As quickly as harvest is full, vignerons want to begin making ready their vines and vineyards for dormancy. The time between the tip of harvest and the primary frost is vital for the grapes, and there’s an extended checklist of important duties that have to be accomplished.
Although the vines seem like asleep, they most definitely aren’t. Throughout their dormancy, there’s loads of microscopic exercise occurring, with the vines and their roots each energetic beneath their bark.
Compost and canopy crops
It’s essential to guard not solely the vines however the soil within the winery rows, as harsh components of winter storms and the potential erosion of the soil protecting the plant roots are each main risk elements through the winter months.
Safety is usually achieved by planting a canopy crop corresponding to clover or native grasses, which maintain the soil tightly collectively. Straw and compost may also be used to guard the soil; compost serves a twin function, because it protects the soil and provides very important vitamins which might be slowly absorbed.
It’s essential to make sure the vines aren’t fertilized too late within the season, as fertilizer encourages the expansion of succulent inexperienced tissue. If this course of is finished too late, development could be broken and it might result in different issues, corresponding to plant stress and pest infestations.
Vine pruning and vine well being
The pruning season varies from winery to winery as a result of the local weather and the placement of the winery decide when the duty can start.
Pruning is often carried out between December and March. Every vine is rigorously examined to find out whether or not it was robust the earlier yr and to search for any illnesses that it may need — corresponding to wooden fungus Eutypa, which could be brought on by extra rainwater on recent cuts from pruning.
Pruning additionally ensures consistency in grape manufacturing and permits for correct winery administration. Pruning methods range relying on the grape selection, and the vigneron and their crew will choose a number of buds to maintain for the approaching yr.
The pruning course of will decide the next yr’s harvest even earlier than the vine emerges from dormancy. Relying on the scale of the vineyards, the pruning course of can take a number of weeks or a number of months.
Replanting lifeless and broken vines
Various factors — illness, harsh climate, wild animals and previous age — can result in the harm and destruction of vines. The common lifespan of a vine is 25 years; nonetheless, some vines can stay to be greater than 100 years previous.
In the meantime, it’s essential to make sure the continuity of the winery and preserve the winery rows as full as potential. Newly planted vines can solely produce viable grapes after a minimal of three years, which suggests any new vegetation may decrease total winery manufacturing.
Your winery crew will determine severely broken, diseased, and lifeless vegetation all year long, and mark them for removing. These vines needs to be changed with new vegetation after the final arduous freeze of the yr and should not be fertilized through the first yr of development.
Work on the irrigation system
As soon as the harvest has been accomplished, the irrigation system must be turned off so the vines can acclimate to the arrival of cooler temperatures and decrease mild situations. If the vines have tubes round their trunk (usually used to guard the trunk towards harm from herbicides, solar harm and accelerated plant development), these have to be eliminated.
In the course of the day, the tubes create a small microclimate that’s hotter than the skin temperature. Nevertheless, through the night time the temperature is identical as it’s outdoors the tube — these excessive adjustments in temperature can probably trigger harm to the vines, impeding their transition into winter dormancy.
Tools repairs and constructing upkeep
In the course of the busy rising and harvest seasons, there’s little time to focus on different actions which might be required across the vineyard. The slower winter season is an effective time to examine the integrity of your buildings and gear to make sure all the pieces is in working order and prepared for the subsequent rising season. Implementing upkeep software program is one strategy to ensure you don’t miss essential duties.
Working a profitable vineyard enterprise requires the fixed consideration of the winery and vineyard groups all year long and the duties carried out through the winter months are the important thing to making sure that the subsequent harvest can be profitable.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. Limble is a contemporary, easy-to-use cell CMMS software program that takes the stress and chaos out of upkeep by serving to managers set up, automate and streamline their upkeep operations.