Cleaning the young ungrafted vines

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P1090425

Frank & Riccardo with the hoe

After years of little or no success with new plantings, I learned that the changing meteorological conditions to longer and dryer summers required an earlier planting compared to what local farmers were doing 50 years ago.
Instead of planting in February, we now plant mid December in order for the young vines to radicate as much as possible with the help of the winter rain and snow.
As our soils have high drainage which is an advantage for producing highly concentrated grapes as well as keeping the old vines healthy for generations, it is extremely hard on the other hand for the young vines to survive the summer period here as they barely have enough roots to pull through the 2 to 3 months long summer draught.

This means we have to pass 3 times in the season with the hoe to keep the vines clean: first and latest early march, we dig a funnel around the small vines to catch water for the roots to grow down as much as possible. Second, in June, we pass to take away the excess grass to give growing priority to the young vines and last in July, we pass again to make a “munzeddu” or small mountain around the vine to protect it from the heat in the summer.

Once they have survived the first year, we need only two passages anymore until the vines are 5 to 8 years old when they become productive and have enough strength to leave herbs around the vines where we can.

P1090405

Cleaning the young ungrafted vines at Barbabecchi

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