Of the more than sixty species that classify the existing types of vines, the climbing vine is included in the group of vitis vinifera, which is used for winemaking. A shrub and climbing plant that can reach 30 meters high, far from the image of a woody shrub no more than one meter high, with which the vine is usually identified.
The climbing vine is one of the least known and least used specimens in vineyards for grape cultivation. Due to the fact that for its growth it is necessary to plant it near a tree as a witness, which allows it to develop to its full potential, it is rare to find this variety of vine in the crops and vineyards of Spanish wineries.
The first to use this climbing plant to make wine were the Romans. Although the Egyptians were already making wine around 2,500 B.C., it was much later, with the help of the Greeks and Romans, when the consumption of wine and, therefore, the cultivation of vineyards became widespread.
The Romans seem to have used elm trees for support to cultivate this climbing plant, and even in the Middle Ages, when winemaking was maintained largely thanks to the monks and the needs of the church, which used the wine in the masses (in Muslim areas they uprooted the vines), the association of the vine to the elm also seems to be proven. In fact, it is from this period that the expression “don’t ask for pears from the elm” comes from, since the elm was the tree used as the vine’s tutor.
As it is a climber, the vine can be cultivated in vines, a system of training the plant on wires that allows the crop to be aerated and encourages the plant to have uniform access to sunlight. Nowadays, this modern conduction is called trellis planting.
Man’s intervention has been redirecting and manipulating it for millennia, on the one hand, to simplify its cultivation and, on the other hand, to make its grapes larger and sweeter. Within this species there are a multitude of varieties, which are almost always specified on the back labels of wine bottles: tempranillo, garnacha, mazuelo, graciano, syrah, etc.
Climbing vines at Finca Valpiedra. Finca Valpiedra has 4 climbing vines of infinite beauty. One of them is more than 14 meters high and hangs over our heads another 10 meters approximately. In these cases, the witness chosen by the vitis vinifera itself are the poplars, trees that the estate has along the course of the Ebro River, which seems to embrace a large part of it. They are of the Mazuelo variety and come from the waste of the plantation that was once carried out in plot no. 1, right next door. As these plants were thrown by the farmers of the winery on the bank, they took root in the soil and thanks to the fact that they climbed up the poplars, in this area as forgotten as it is beautiful, they offer us today an unparalleled spectacle.