The importance of pruning
To ensure a good production of grapes, the vineyard must be pruned every year. Pruning the grapes is one of the most delicate operations of this crop. The vine is a climber that has deciduous leaves, and in a single season develops a lot of vegetation. In addition to having to give a "direction" to growth it must be controlled in some way, otherwise there is a risk of overgrowth.
Pruning ensures that the grapes, in spring, are luxuriant and stronger than ever. It must be carried out also taking into account the conformation of the terrain. The pinot grapes from which champagne is obtained, must be kept low, so as to grow as close as possible to the earth. It is different in quality sangiovese, where the plant reaches even two meters in height. Failing to prune the grapes means affecting the harvest.
There are different styles or methods for pruning grapes. The Guyot, simple and double, is used where the soil is not particularly fertile but sufficiently dry. This grape pruning technique is used for vines that do not exceed one meter in height. On the supporting shaft, only one fruiting branch is left, which will be directed to grow along the row. At the base of the trunk there will remain a spur that will serve, in the following years, for the rejuvenation of the plant.
The variant double guyot instead, it provides for leaving two fruiting branches with a dozen buds, which will grow opposite each other along the row. The pergola pruning takes the name of the plant that will support the plant itself. The stem is allowed to grow vertically until it reaches the top of the arbor; two or more lateral branches will be directed along the horizontal rows. This pruning will cause the vegetation of the vine to be copious. The cord style Instead, it is similar to the Guyot, but has a screw height of about two meters.
The first prunings
When the vine is young it needs a particular pruning which is called "training". Through this pruning, the vine is shown the road that will have to travel in the years to come. There Training pruning is done in late winter, so as to avert the danger of frosts, first, however, that the buds become enlarged.
At the time of training pruning the vines have already been planted, taking into account the variety and the type of row to be obtained. On young stems it is necessary to balance both horizontal and vertical germination, so as to facilitate a homogeneous development of the plant itself. Only later will we go to work on pruning with form. The young shoots are cut so that they have 10 or 12 buds each. These will become bearers of fruiting.
Grape pruning: the following years
After 4 or 5 years in which we have intervened on the grape plant by carrying out training pruning, we move on to real pruning. These are done every year. Between January and February, in the middle of winter, when the vine has lost all its foliage.
In guyot pruning, as mentioned, one will leave a spur that the following year will grow and take the place of the "old" stem. In this way the vineyard is constantly renewed. In the pruning or pergola prunings the same fruit-bearing shoots are left for several years.
They are only shortened, but the spurs are always kept. Grape pruning is a ritual and there are specific professional figures. Sometimes the pruner is called specifically for his skill or experience. Especially in newly formed farms it is advised to be supported, initially, by someone who can advise and physically perform the first prunings. A well-set vineyard will give, over the years, satisfactions and grapes of superior quality.