Today, 10 September, we have picked grapes until 3:00 p.m. After that, we were forced to stop because of rain.
We hope that it ends soon and that the wind dries the grapes.
This is the advantage of being on the southern slope of Montalcino, where, thanks to the influence of the sea and Mt. Amiata, our vineyards are always ventilated. When it stops raining, the wind will rise and the grapes will dry relatively quickly.
The inclement weather that struck northern and central Italy on Saturday, with strong rainfall (60 mm in the zone of Grosseto) arrived here in Sant'Angelo only marginally, dropping just 5 mm of water.
By Sunday, the sky was already clear and the weather sunny. And these conditions have continued through today.
The grapes continue to proceed with their slow but continuous ripening.
In the vineyards, we are pruning again, removing the bunches that are the most behind in their ripening and removing the leaves around the bunches.
This year, when the temperatures rose again, esca widely appeared on many vines which showed symptoms of this disease.
There are no cures and the only remedy, if the disease has not yet attacked the roots of the plant, is that of cutting the vine 20 cm above the ground. By doing so, the vine sprouts buds that will create a new plant which will produce grapes in two years.
In the case that the roots are affected by the disease, the only remedy is to grub up the vine and to replant with a vine that has been grown in a test tube. Obviously, all of the infected materials (trunk, canes, roots) are removed from the vineyard and burned to remove infection and to stop it from propagating.
After the summer closing — ten days saddled over the Ferragosto holiday — we have returned to work.
Fair weather continues in Montalcino.
The inclement weather that has struck the north of Italy and northern Tuscany has not arrived here where we are. And the climate is giving us a great help in moving forward the ripening of our grapes.
The temperatures are below the seasonal averages (min. 13° C., max. 26° C.) but in recent days they have begun to increase.
This morning the minimum temperature at 7:00 a.m. was 18° C.
A light breeze blows and takes away the clouds that were arriving from the sea. And according to the forecast, fair weather should last yet for a long time here.
This is ideal for the ripening of the grapes.
We are continuing the pruning of the vines situated above 300 meters in altitude and we are also removing leaves near to the bunches to allow them to aerate better and to "put them under the sun" so as to keep them healthy with attacks of Botrytis cinearea.
The week before Ferragosto, the August holiday, the weather here in Sant'Angelo has been excellent. The rains have not struck us and the weather forecast, at least until Ferragosto (August 15), promises to be good. And this is excellent for the vineyards.
The maximum temperatures arrive at 30° C. and the minimum during the night go down to 15° C.
This is very good because this temperature variation is useful for the aromas and for the acidities of the future wine.
A decidedly difficult vintage, where once again is shown the importance of the work in the vineyards and, above all, the location of the vines.
In vintages like these, having the vineyards in the south zone makes the positive difference because the ripening, with respect to the north, is at least 10-15 days more in advance.
We are continuing to work int he vineyards. Some of the workers are pruning the grapes where they are abundant. But in general, this is a vintage where there is not a lot of grapes. And for this reason, pruning is done only on those vines with a weight of abundant grapes that are above the average. We are doing this important work in the vines located in the central zone.
We will then move to the higher vineyards that are taking longer to ripen (they have begun their veraison) after the Ferragosto holiday. The winery closes, in fact, from August 9-17.
At the same time, one part of the staff is "de-leafing" the vines near to the bunches in order to aerate them and to allow the bunches greater exposure to sunlight.
Thanks to this, the health will also be better inasmuch as by doing this work, it allows for the sea breeze, the north-westerly wind of the Mediterranean, to keep the bunches ventilated and dry.
My father has always said that in the past, this operation was done after the 20th of August because it was feared that the heat and the burning sun would cook the grapes. But this is an anomalous vintage and in the light of the climatic progression, we have preferred to do this early so as to have earlier ripening.