"Thank you! Thank you for the emotions and memories you have given us”.
These will most certainly be the words that many winegrowers "whisper” to their old vines when restructuring a vineyard. A new cycle will begin with different grape varieties, or with different ways of training them, always aiming to improve the "emotions” and "memories” that the new vines will share with us over the next few years.
After the due tributes we start by preparing the soil. The decision to plant a vineyard is a serious one, requiring study, planning, financial resources,dedication and the desire to get muddy! The evaluation of the terrain is carried out through soil samples and subsequent laboratory analysis. When we receive the results, we confirm whether the soil characteristics are optimal for the production of grapes or if it is necessary to carry out some type of correction such as using lime to balance the pH, applying nitrogen or any other necessary nutrients. After spreading the nutrients, these are incorporated into the soil by the "surriba” which consists of revolving the soil and placing the top layer with all the nutrients at about one metre deep. It is more or less at this depth that most of the roots will be and where the vine will seek its food and water. The soil is then "escarificado” (smoothed) in order to facilitate the planting of the vines.
The choice of the vines line orientation is a relevant factor when planting a vineyard. Protecting the grapes from the sun during the hottest hours, preventing erosion and facilitating mechanisation are some of the most important aspects to keep in mind. In this particular case, the vineyard will be oriented to the south, which means that, in the hours when the sun's rays are strongest and have a south / north inclination, the vine leaves protect the bunches below. Fortunately, it is also the orientation that, in this case, gives us the biggest lines, thus facilitating mechanisation. Erosion will be prevented with the application of a vegetative cover, in this case, based on weeds that in addition to holding the soil will contribute to an increase in organic matter and greater availability of nitrogen for the vines in the first years of growth.
Having chosen the grape varieties to be used, in this case Alvarinho and Azal, we will proceed with their planting by GPS. The operator will measure the dimensions of the terrain with the tractor, introduce the orientation of the lines and the spacing between the vines in the computer and, in a short time, a whole new "army” of plants is placed milli metrically on the ground.
The placement of posts and wires will be the next step. We use posts that will be about 2.5m high because we like to provide our vines with the possibility of producing a large leaf area that will allow them, like photovoltaic panels, to collect energy from the sun turning it into beautiful golden bunches, but that’s for another article.
All of our vineyards have a name, this is the "Raza de Baixo” Vineyard, here "we breathe a different air”.