Category Archives: Green Management

The practice of “leaf pulling” in Trentino viticulture

 

“A good wine starts from a good vine.” This isn’t just a fun rhyme. Healthy, productive vines are essential to the winemaking process. At Mezzacorona we are lucky to have a passionate team of vineyard managers fully dedicated to their craft. They work side-by-side with wine growers, sharing their experience and knowledge to get the best  grapes from their vineyards and maximize their vines’ production.

 

In the immediate post-flowering phase, the vineyard managers suggest the grape growers to remove the excess leaves from the vines. This practice, called “leaf pulling”, is crucial in facilitating sunlight exposure and airflow around the grapes, making the clusters less susceptible to harmful fungal diseases. Furthermore, removing some of the leaves enables to vines to dry quickly, protecting the plant from bunch-rot infection.

 

This practice is extremely labor intensive, requiring from 80 to 100 hours per hectare, but it is absolutely necessary for a higher quality fruit production.

Do you know when the harvest begins?

 

Today our vineyard managers explain how to determine the beginning of harvest with a simple rule. “If you know the time of full bloom, it is possible to predict with good accuracy the time of harvest of any grape variety.”


In the vineyards cultivated around Mezzacorona, the vines blossom around the third week of May, taking about 95 days for Chardonnay to be ready for harvesting. Comparatively, Teroldego, an indigenous red varietal whose name means “Tyrol’s Gold”, grows 112 days until harvested.

 

 

In 1987 the Chardonnay flowering began on June 14th and the harvest followed on September 16th. In 2007 the bloom started on May 14th and the harvest in mid-August. Thus, we are now harvesting a month earlier than we were only 20 years ago.

 

Clearly, the secret is out, something is changing in our climate.

Roses & Vineyards

 

 

Spring has finally arrived. All around nature has begun to blossom, creating a colorful scenario that leaves both your eyes and your heart feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

 

You decide to take a stroll through the vineyards and you happen to see a lot of gorgeous roses planted at the beginning of each vine. You think the farmer might have a very thoughtful wife who just loves to give her personal, female touch to her husband’s vineyards –but the reason for doing so is not just a romantic one.

 

Even though now the roses have essentially a decorative function, in the past, they were used as an effective defensive tool for the vines. The farmers noticed that the roses were affected by a common vine disease called powdery mildew. Their beautiful roses were usually attacked one week before the problem manifested itself on the vine, an advanced warning that the grower’s would use to their advantage.

 

Now, research has developed more advanced methods to prevent this disease, but the farmers continue planting the roses in their vineyards for –what else? Their wives’ happiness!

 

 

Spring Arrives & Brings Environmentally-Friendly Practices to Mezzacorona

The sun is beginning to warm the grass beneath our feet and flowers blossom as animals awake from their winter sleep. Yes friends: spring has arrived!

In vineyards everywhere, the first sprouts begin to appear. And with those sprouts, bizarre insects.   As beautiful as rows of vineyards may look from afar, up close it becomes apparent that those bizarre insects need to be controlled in order to prevent damages on the vines.

Since the 90’s, Mezzacorona has been handling the management of common parasites like Lobesia botranaa nd Eupoecilia ambiguella through a modern biological system. This technique is now applied all over the Trentino region and also experimented abroad, like in California, where they have since seen successful results in the vineyards.

This innovative method consists of limiting the reproduction of harmful insects through pheromone over-stimulation.  In these days, the farmers are distributing between 400 and 500 dispensers for every 2.5 acres. These dispensers are simple tools that release pheromones which confuse the males so much so, that they stop reproducing.

This innovative method allows a proper wine-producing environment where the use of pesticides is practically zero.  This is just an example showing the commitment of Mezzacorona in reducing the impact of its activities on the local environment. In the early 1980’s, Mezzacorona issued “The Protocol for a High-Quality Wine Production in Trentino”, a proposal aimed at regulating the cultivation, new vineyards, green care and other processes in order to promote sustainable agriculture.

Further reduction of chemical treatments translates into the minimization of copper or sulphur residual in the wine. Water and energy management together with balanced vineyard usage increase sustainability and with 70% of the wineries being built underground the use of air conditioning in the cellars is significantly reduced. Photoelectric in conjunction with hydroelectric plants also fulfill the majority of the energetic needs and recycling is as a normal practice as adhering to other quality or environmental guidelines.

Just as seasons continuously change, we at Mezzacorona feel it important to be at the forefront of environmentally-friendly practices within our vineyards, willing and able to change with the times.