Searching the perfect bunch

Immagine per la news Searching the perfect bunch - Azienda Agricola Montonale

In our vineyards we started the sampling of the Turbiana grapes to establish the time of the harvest, which for this variety generally begins in the third decade of September and continues until mid-October.

Our agronomist Valentino Girelli moves between the rows and picks grapes in a deliberately casual way, and then takes them to the cellar where we will gently squeeze them and analyze their juice.

"In the vineyard, the great challenge is achieving balance," says Girelli. “The analytical values of the grapes - pH, acidity and sugars - must harmonize to obtain personal and long-lived wines”, says Girelli.

“Excessive heat during the ripening of the bunches can put the vine in stand-by, which in order to survive must interrupt its nourishment; Fortunately, in the village of Montonale we have a very particular microclimate , with constant breezes - the well-known winds of Garda lake, Ora and Pelèr - which prevent stagnation of humidity, that could lead to pathologies, and beautiful temperature excursions, with cool nights that refresh the vineyard and prepare it for the daytime heat wave".

A correct technological maturation, confirmed by laboratory analyzes, is however not enough. Girelli explains: “To harvest grapes that are as perfect as possible it should coincide with phenolic ripeness , which we measure empirically, that is, based on our experience in the field. In practice, we pick the grapes, evaluate the texture of the skin, the ripeness of the seeds, the taste of the pulp. A sensory analysis done directly in the vineyard ".

A complex picture, then. So how can we help the vine to better ripen its fruits? The agronomist reveals a trick: "The bunches need light and air: thinning, clipping and leaf removal are essential, but we do more. We have developed a technique, which I call ' unknotting ': the bunches that are too close are detached so that there is no contact between them. To this we combine a manual peeling, which preserves part of the greenery in the rows facing west, to protect them from sunburn. This is done on each plant and on the 35 hectares of vineyard: it is a mighty job, but necessary for the plant to work well, arrive in shape at an older age and can give us valuable bunches even in the less fortunate seasons ".

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