Category: harvest 2013

Luca’s notes from December in the vineyards

December is the month when we traditionally begin pruning.

snake skin

December 10 – We found a snake’s skin in the vineyards.

green manure

December 12 – The cover crop continues to grow.

new vineyard

December 17 – A date that I will remember for a very long time. After visiting this vineyard (above), which was up for sale, we decided to do something crazy (given the economic times): we took out a second mortgage so that we could buy it. It’s one hectare in size and is not suitable for tractors. We’ll be spending a lot of time in this vineyard over the next few years.

freezing temperatures

December 19 – Temperatures have dropped below freezing but we continue to prune like there’s no tomorrow.

sunrise prosecco

December 20 – Tomorrow always comes sometimes it amazes you with its beauty.

children vineyard

December 22 – Our children get a taste of the work that awaits them in a few years.

@Bele_Casel: “The Prosecco vintage of the MILLENNIUM!” (NOT… well maybe)

prosecco grape bunch

The French will continue to make fun of us and Italian journalists will continue to write the same thing that they’ve been writing at the end of ten summers now: “It’s going to be the vintage of the century, with stellar quality and zero problems.”

Why don’t we start at the beginning…

The vintage started with rainfall. We had to battle like warriors to save the grapes from rot during May and June.

During the second half of the vintage, we had to deal with hydric stress. We continued to fight in order to stop losing part of the grapes in July.

But I’d like to focus on the period that really decides the fate of the vintage: the period that stretches from véraison (when the skins begin to change color; the onset of ripening) to the time when we pick.

Until now, I can very serenely say that it has been a spectacular period.

Nights are cool and days are warm and dry. The temperature variation aids us considerably in maintaining the aromas of the wines.

There are no more problems of hydric stress after the recent rains.

The grapes are healthy. The skins are thick and crunchy.

We’ll probably begin picking mid-September and we hope to have moderate temperatures during harvest.

So, for now, we expect to have an excellent vintage. But I’ll wait until November, when all the wine has finished fermenting, before I’ll tell you that it’s the vintage of the century.

—Luca Ferraro
grape grower and winemaker

@Bele_Casel: “After excessive spring rains, problems with hydric stress in July”

A note from grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro:

After entire weeks of rain, July has left us with problems of hydric stress.

Sweltering days, warm nights, and a lack of rain have forced us to irrigate our hill-side vineyards for the first time ever.

I never thought it would come to this after a spring with exaggerated levels of rainfall.

It’s probably due to soils that are excessively compact due to frequent use of tractors (and sprayers) on wet soils.

The work that we’ve been doing on the soils has not been sufficient. But we will have to continue down this road in order to increase the fertility of the soil in our Prosecco vineyards and to make sure that the water remains in the ground for a longer period.

glera grape bunch

July 1: a Glera grape bunch.

vineyard treatments prosecco

July 9: treatments applied during the cool hours of the early morning in order to avoid warming of the leaves and grape bunches.

asolo prosecco vineyards

Some of our vineyards in Cornuda.

italy vineyard disease fungal

July 16: While working in the vineyards, we found a small Glera bunch that had been attacked by oidium (powdery mildew). The next day, we went back to the vineyard with a duster and applied micronized sulfur to stop potential outbreaks.

sulfur treatment vineyard

July 17: We head out to the vineyards at dawn to spray sulfur without damaging the vines.

Luca’s notes from the cold month of January

binding canes in the vineyard

The cold month of January was spent pruning our vines in Caerano and going back and forth with our designer on Skype, often all day long, discussing our packaging, labels, and capsules for the wines.

We’ve been managing a vineyard in Caerano for two years now. It’s an old-school growing site and that why we decided not to use nylon binding. Instead we used reeds (called strópe in our dialect) that we took from old plants left to us by my grandfather, who used them to bind the canes.

luca ferraro

Call it nostalgia if you like… the reeds make me think of the time when I used to work in the vineyards with my father and my grandfather. I’d follow them between the vines with the bunch of reeds they had prepared especially for me. I’d get mad because no matter how hard I tried, I could never manage to bind those stupid little branches!

vineyard bindings italy

In that same vineyard, you still find ancient trellising techniques. In our dialect, the iron wires are called tarnéi.

wintertime coffee italy

On the coldest mornings, we had to go back to the house to warm up our hands and our spirits. Sometimes a hot coffee can give a boost to your morale and to your tired muscles.

snowfall veneto january

Not even the snow could stop us!