Category: harvest 2018

Prosecco Diaries: September

No need to tell you that September is the month of harvest, right?
This year it has been very challenging, we focused on finding the best timing to pick grapes, as acidity was decresing day by day. Frenetic times for almost 3 weeks
Two rainy days have interrupeted the working rhytm and forced us to review our plans
Healthy and rich grapes. The expectations are very high





3 September: Weather has been forgiving today, we covered the trailer just in case it rains on the way home


4 September: Her majesty, Glera


The steepness of the vineyards of Monfumo is always tough

We’re worried about the weather situation, can you blame us? We thought a hurricane was going to strike our vineyards, in the end it just drizzled


Rain forced us to take a break from harvest, so we did everything we couldn’t do during those days


The nights spent in front of the press. This is a vacuum system press, that crushes the grapes in a much more gentle way than the usual presses


6 September: harvest in the vineyard of Cornuda continues


in the meantime in the afternoon, while the rest of the group continued picking Glera grapes, I spent some time with a couple from the US who decided to get engaged in our vineyard in Monfumo. Who would have thought we’d become part of one of the happiest days of these guys’ lives?

And for this reason, we decided to do something special. We customised the label of our Extra Dry with their names


8 September: Work in progress in the Longon vineyard


10 September: Precious mascot in Monfumo


15 September: Grape marcs ferment in the vineyard, it will become a natural fertiliser


17 September: The last bunch of Glera grapes of the season

vintage notes italy


18 September: Our Extra Dry poured at the Mayfair Restaurant in Melbourne


19 September: Time to concentrate on the soil. We’re getting ready to plant the cover crop


21 September: The very last bunch of harvest 2018. Rabbiosa grapes


Chestnut trees remind us of our history and heritage: Prosecco Diaries August 2018

August saw a lot of rain and it made our work even harder.

Caring for the chestnut trees (below) makes us remember our history and heritage. It was just one of the highlights from a challenging but rewarding month in the 2018 vintage.

August is the month when you begin to feel the harvest approaching.

It’s the time when you concentrate on preparing the vines and making harvest easier by mowing the grasses between the rows, trimming the canopy, and removing the weeds around the vines.

As you can see from the graphic below, at the end of the month, there was a concentration of rains, just a few hours before the beginning of the most difficult period of the year.

The grapes will be inundated with a lot of water. We will put off the beginning of the harvest for a few days so that the soil can dry and so that the vines get some light and some warmth from the sun.

August 13 – Our ColFòndo appeared in the pages of Vanity Fair (Italian version)!

August 17 – Weed management during the first year after planting is somewhat delicate. The small cuttings need light and they need to be unencumbered by competition from other plants in order to grow well and quickly.

Because we are an organic estate, we cannot use herbicides. So we have to remove all the weeds by hand. As you see, certain patches remain but they will be removed soon thanks to a second pass with a harrow.

August 20 – The vines planted on steep slopes need to be constantly cared for and maintained. This was the second time we went through the vineyards with a small tractor specialized for difficult-to-work vineyards like this.

August 24 – A photo from our Prà Grande vineyard in Monfumo. It’s time to figure out how the Bianchetta Trevigiana is doing and it’s time to mow the grass.

August 29 – The thing that makes a small winery stand apart is the fact that it never considers anything or anyone to be just a number. One of the nicest things for us is to welcome people who come to see us, even if just for a little while, without expecting anything in return. It was wonderful for us to receive these bottles of English sparkling wine directly from England. They were sent as a thank you for the time we spent together. We know we will really enjoy these, Charlie! Heartfelt thanks!

August 30 – The chestnut trees that surround our Cornuda vineyard have been there for hundreds of years. We are working to preserve them. The are an important part of the history and heritage of this place.

August 30 – In just a few hours the rains will come. We need to trim the canopy and mow the grass because next week we will begin harvesting and we need everything to be in order. This means that we are going to have to put in some serious over time.

August 31 – Thank you, Giulia, for this fantastic article on Scatti di Gusto.

Solidarity is what we needed in the very challenging month of July. Prosecco Diaries 2018.

July was one of the most difficult months we can remember.

Solidarity in the form of Solidarietà, a local business, was a bright spot in an otherwise extremely challenging months in the vineyards.

We will remember the month of July for its high temperatures and its hailstorms. There were two extreme events that were combined together and the amount of rainfall was truly significant.

We tried to limit the impact as much as possible by leaving the grapes covered by the vines’ leaves. By doing so, we hoped to avoid exposure to too much burning sunlight and what would be a subsequent drop in acidity.

This year, the vines are particularly lush and the canopy management will be crucial to getting the grapes in good condition at the end of the vegetative cycle.

Rains and high temperatures have brought on an attack of peronospora on the suckers, especially in our Monfumo vineyard. We’ll have to see if there will be an effect on the sugar level since the new leaves have been compromised and they won’t do much photosynthesis.

July 5 – Hail and rain. The vineyard in Maser was the one most impacted by the hail. In Monfumo, there were problems only because of the massive amount of water that fell in such a short time period.

Here’s a video from our Cornuda vineyard.

Luckily there wasn’t any major damage.

Vigna Vecchia di Monfumo: Video

No damage. These are old Bianchetta vines.

Video from our Prà Grande vineyard.

Here the hail definitely struck harder than in the other vineyards. But the damage was still light.

Video from Vigna Monfumo Longon.

Nearly 100 mm of rain in just 20 minutes or so. The damage is owed to the city road here.

Video from Maser.

This is the vineyard that suffered the most.

July 11 – The leaves tell us a lot about the health of the vines. Here, for example, there is a clear lack of magnesium.

July 16 – Another big rainstorm. This time Monfumo was the vineyard that got the most rain. Luckily, there was no damage to the vineyards.

Just to give you an idea of how severe the weather was, here are screenshots from the Bassano and Pedmontana del Grappa weather forecast.

July 31 – This was a truly special day for us and it really touched our hearts. The people from the cooperative Solidarietà came to visit us. They’re based in Treviso and they have been making our neck takers for our ColFondo for years. Solidarietà, which means Solidarity in English, has been working in our area for 35 years. Their goal is to “make a cultural contribution through social inclusion.” It was a great pleasure for us to show them our winery and spend some time with them and get to know them better.

Truth Be Told: The 2018 harvest is one of “the most difficult I can remember.”

“One of the most difficult harvests I can remember,” says Bele Casel grape grower Luca Ferraro.

Truth be told, goes the age-old expression. One of the things the Ferraro family has always believed in is 100 percent transparency. From their “Prosecco Diaries,” published here on the blog, to their social media activity and engagement, they have always made a point to write and speak with full transparency when it comes to describing their growing conditions and the wines that they produce.

Across Italy and northern Italy in particular, the 2018 vintage will be remembered as an extremely wet growing cycle. Intense late spring and early summer rains were followed by extreme heat. The alternating cool and warm temperatures, combined with excessive humidity in the vineyards, were less than ideal, to say the very least.

The Ferraro family and Bele Casel were spared major damage from the year’s many hailstorms. But like their neighbors, they could not escape the bizarre weather patterns and conditions.

The following notes were published this week by Bele Casel grape grower this week on his Facebook.

The 2018 vintage has been “one of the most difficult harvests I can remember,” he wrote in his Monday, September 17 post on the social media platform.

“We began by picking just certain parts of the rows with the ripest grapes. Then we would return to the same row and finish our work.”

We “machine-harvested 20 tons of grapes after we saw how the acidity was dropping abruptly.” We did this to “speed up the picking time.”

“We had a small team of people” working the harvest, he noted. “And we were able to pick 20 tons of grapes every day in the Cornuda vineyard and just over 10 tons in Monfumo.”

“Sigh,” he wrote to express his disappointment with the Monfumo yield.

“We’ll have to wait until the middle of October,” he added, to determine “the quality of the wines” from this vintage.

Harvest in Asolo began 10 days ago.

The 2018 vintage will be remembered as a challenging one but Bele Casel has been extremely fortunate.

Harvest in Asolo began 10 days ago.

You may have noticed that there’s not been much action on the usually very busy Bele Casel social media. That’s because everyone in the family — mom, dad, and all kids and grandkids — are busy picking and sorting the grapes that will become the 2018 vintage.

The Ferraro family is always 100 percent transparent about growing conditions and the challenges of weather in the era of climate change.

Month by month, they chronicle the vegetative cycle, as it is called in wine parlance. And they also write openly about weather patterns. Whether on the winery’s Facebook (which includes its Instagram feed) or grower Luca’s Facebook, you’ll always find wonderful images of the vineyards. And it’s not just limited to beautiful shots of the grapes or the many little animals they discover living in their organically farmed vineyards.

Luca and his family also post regularly about rain and hail. And the write openly about their fears and concerns.

One of the big events of this harvest was the installation of an automated weather station in their Monfumo vineyard, which lies a sizable distance from their home and winery. The station allows them to monitor the weather as well as the humidity and temperature. Thanks to the information they receive, they know if and when they need to rush to the vineyard to check for any issues.

“We work under the sky,” Luca often says. In other words, the grape grower can’t always control what happens in her or his vineyards. There was a lot of rain this year across Prosecco country and there was some serious hail. Bele Casel and the Ferraro family were extremely fortunate though and they are really happy with the results of their harvest (as you can see by the image of the grapes above).

We’ll be posting their harvest notes as soon as they have time to post them!

The Crow: “It can’t rain all the time.” Prosecco Diaries May 2018

Rain made our work in May very challenging.

Despite the line from The Crow, “it can’t rain all the time,” May gave us some big rain days, as you can see in the graph below.

Work on the new plantings in our Monfumo vineyard are going slowly because we can work the earth with a bulldozer. What was supposed to be 20 days of work is now becoming two months of our time to get the site ready for planting.

Budding has been moving as fast as our work in Monfumo is slow. We are having trouble keeping up with everything we need to do in a timely manner: Desuckering, fastening the ties, spraying, and managing the grass between the rows. Every job keeps getting pushed back, day after day.

Flowering took place on May 21 in our Caerano vineyard. It’s always the earliest to flower. If we consider that as a rule of thumb, harvest comes 100 days after flowering, we should be picking the last week of August.

It’s incredible how much the month of May speeded up a vegetative cycle that started late.

May 2 – Desuckering has begun.

May 4: In the following order, Glera, Marzemina Bianca, and Rabbiosa. It’s interesting to see how each grape variety has a different rhythm with respect to the others.

May 7 – Our Prà Grande vineyard, before and after. We certainly couldn’t cut those marvelous flowers. So we decided just to do a little cleaning underneath the rows.

May 14 – A press tour organized by the Consortium Asolo Montello, our consortium, with English and American journalists. A stop to see our Monfumo vineyard is mandatory.

May 15 – We are hoping, with all our heart, that it stops raining soon.

May 18 – Before and after fastening the ties.

18 Maggio: È decisamente difficile stare tranquilli con questo tempo

May 21 – Flowering in our Caerano vineyard has begun.

May 30 – Following flowering, the Glera fruit set has begun.

Veraison is the moment that “we let Mother Nature do her job.”

Today on Bele Casel’s Facebook, Luca posted the photo above and the passage below. “We’ll step aside,” he wrote, “And we’ll let Mother Nature do her job.”

Veraison, one of the most important moments of the vine’s vegetative cycle, is the onset of ripening. In a lot of ways, as Luca notes above and as you’ll see in the passage below, it’s the moment that the grape grower “steps aside,” as Luca wrote. At this point forward, when the grapes change color, the grape grower can’t do much more to “guide” the vines as they achieve full ripening. For red grapes, the berries turn from green to red. For white grapes, they lose their light green color and take on a their golden green color. It’s also the moment that the size of the berries is determined, which is also extremely important for the quality of the vintage.

The following post comes from the Treviso chapter of the Italian Federation of Independent Grape Growers. The photo as well. (English translation by our blogmaster.)

It’s such an exciting and emotional moment for us, like any grape grower. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Technically it’s called veraison [editor’s note: a French term; inviatura in Italian]. It’s one of the phases of grape ripening: The fist moment in which the berries lose their green color and they begin their journey toward full ripening. During this phase, they reveal their character. It’s a highly emotional moment. You could almost call it a “point of contact” between vine and humankind. In moments like this, you have a palpable sense that the vine is life. It’s almost like an EKG when the beep starts to follow your heart beat. In this moment, the grapes begin to “light up” slowly in the vineyard like a thousand little lamps. And it marks the last phase of the vintage.

Bees in the vineyards: Prosecco Diaries April 2018

As always, there’s a lot of important work to do in April, especially when the rains interrupt the rhythms of the day and they make it impossible to use our tractor. We have a lot of catching up to do in terms of replanting and the spike in temperature at the end of the month is going to make us go without sleep for weeks.

Bees in the vineyard were one of the highlights in the month of April (see below).

April 5: You can definitely feel the biodiversity in our vineyards. Those flowers are wild arugula. You can’t begin to imagine how wonderful it is to smell their fragrance as you walk between the rows. Smells like honey.

April 6: When you walk through our vineyard in Monfumo, you can find seashells like this one.

April 7: We work in the rain as we prune our little Bianchetta Trevigiana vines. They are enjoying the spring!

April 8: “How do grape growers get so strong?” Have you ever tried walking with a ton of dirt stuck to your shoes?

April 9: “Every Prosecco vineyard can be mechanized!” Is that so? Here’s proof. Here we are pruning in our Monfumo vineyard.

Have a look at what we’re doing here. Are we working fast enough in your opinion?

13 Aprile: E’ arrivata la primavera…

April 15: Vinitaly is here!

April 17: Work in the vineyard never ends. Here we are cleaning up between the rows in our Cornuda vineyard.

April 20: The famous break following Vinitaly! It’s time to substitute the vines that have died with new plantings of Glera in our Cornuda vineyard.

April 21: Anyone who’s ever met Luca will understand how tall these flowers are! This is our vineyards in Prà Grande. We have decided to let the flowers grow and let the bees collect their nectar for as long as they want. It’s perfect because we can’t use our tractors in this vineyard anyway. Everything has to be done by hand. You have no idea how wonderful it is to walk through this marvelous site when the only sound you can hear is the buzzing of the insects. There’s a reason why they call these hills the “Silent Hills.”

April 22: The bees are so important to the well being of our vineyards. Here’s a bee in our Prà Grande vineyard, enjoying our cover crop flowers.

April 24: Due Rocche will come by to see us tomorrow at our Cornuda vineyard.

April 25: Happy (Italian) Liberation Day!

Allegagione: How do you translate it into English and what’s its significance?

Fruit set is a critical moment in the vine’s vegetative cycle.

Allegagione… it’s not easy to say in Italian!

It’s pronounced ahl-leh-gah-JOH-neh.

And the English translation is “fruit set.”

Basically, it’s the moment in the vine’s vegetative cycle when certain flowers on the plant start to become berries.

According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, only 30 per cent of the flowers become berries, although, the editors write, that figure can be as high as 60 per cent.

It’s such an important moment because it determines how much fruit the harvest will actually yield. And the yield, naturally, also affects quality. A lower amount of flowers that become berries could mean a smaller crop for the grape grower. A higher amount could mean that the number of berries produced is higher but the quality could be lower because the flavors will not be as concentrated.

The time leading up to the fruit set is also very risky for the grape grower. The berries are strong than the flowers and they can handle a little rain better than the flowers. But a heavy rainstorm can wipe the flowers off the plant and that can be a disaster for a grape grower.

The fruit set also tells the grape grower, more or less, when harvest will be. The rule of thumb is 100 days from fruit set, give or take a few depending on how fast or slowly the grapes ripen.

So while a lot of nail-biting goes on as the vegetative cycle leads up to fruit sit, there can be a huge sigh of relief after it happens. (Or in some cases, crying call follow!)

Luckily for Bele Casel this year, fruit set arrived last week with no major issues and the outlook — so far — for this year’s harvest is very good!

Harvest is over but there’s plenty of work to do in the vineyard: Prosecco Diaries October

Unusual weather conditions have added to the work we need to do in the vineyard.

Harvest is finally over but that doesn’t mean that everything slows down at the winery and that we can look forward to long days with nothing to do but relax. In fact, this year, things got really busy right away.

We spent numerous days working in our Pra’ Grande vineyard this month. We shored up the rows and we planted cover crops. We fixed up the stakes and iron wires. And we fixed the anchors and the ties.

We were a little worried because we are experiencing yet another dry month. The plants will have trouble budding and the ground needs to be damp. Instead the soil is totally dry.

Unusually high temperatures have caused the grasses to grow. And we were forced to mow very late in the year.

We continue to fertilize using only manure. And this year we scattered the manure through the vineyard. We decided to do it like this because we want to compare the results with those from last year when we only distributed the manure beneath the vines themselves.

October 5: The work in the Pra’ Grande vineyard continues.

vigna pra' grande monfumo

Shoring up the iron wires in the rows.

lavori vigna pra' grande

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the “yellow soil of our Pra’ Grande vineyard”…

terra gialla pra' grande

October 6: Fall/Winter Collection 2018. Bepi, who guards our Pra’ Grande vineyard, gets a new look.

bepi monfumo pra' grande

October 10: Regular maintenance.

bepi guardiano vigna pra' grande

October 14: The annual Slow Wine tasting where the award-winners present their wines.

slow wine bele casel montecatini

October 20: A ColFòndo tasting presented by Stefano Caffari.

degustazione colfondo ais caffarri

degustazione prosecco colfondo

October 20: When you look carefully at the landscape in Asolo where we grow our grapes, you realize that Asolo and Valdobbiadene have more things in common than you would think.

morfologia colli asolani

25 Ottobre: Sfalcio erba a Monfumo, come sempre manual

October 25: We mow between the rows in Monfumo. As always, the mowing is done manually.

sfalcio erba monfumo

autunno vigna monfumo