With the first frosts after the harvests, the vines lose their leaves which, especially in the case of Rioja, paint on the hillsides and plains an extraordinary colorful landscape of different shades of red of the tempranillos combined with the yellows of gracianos and garnachas and the greenish yellows of the viura grapes. The plant, the vine, then enters its resting season until March, when it awakens from its vegetative standstill with the first shoots of the new harvest.
The most important work, as we pointed out in a previous post, during the winter is pruning, the result of which will condition both the productive and qualitative aspects, that is, the balance of the plant itself. During this hibernation phase of the vineyard, however, things happen that can mark the next vintage. In this regard, our technical director, Lauren RosilloThe water reserve accumulated during the winter will determine subsequent work such as protection against pests and diseases, sowing, green harvesting, etc.
From his personal notes, which are an authentic ‘logbook’, we have extracted the following considerations
- Finca Antigua (La Mancha): the autumn has been dry, with only the month of November bringing the usual seasonal rains. The winter has been one of the warmest and driest on record with temperatures in both December and January well above average. The rains in the second half of February and early March will at least partially guarantee the necessary water reserves. In this regard, our technical team is hoping for a rainy spring in the area, especially if the summer is as demanding as last year. We are now looking at the risk of spring frosts that cover the period from the first bud break until mid-May.
- Valpiedra Estate (Rioja)Although temperatures have also been slightly above average in winter, the amount of rainfall received in January and February has provided the necessary water reserves for the rest of the year, so in this sense the situation is more guaranteed than at Finca Antigua. However, the virtual absence of frost is expected to bring forward the budbreak of the vines. These have had practically no winter shutdown due to frost, so the risk of suffering a spring frost is significant. The risk will last until the end of April.
- Finca Montepedroso (Rueda): We return to another extreme climate, with an autumn with little rainfall, although the winter was quite generous from the point of view of rainfall. Rainfall, in any case, has been of water, although it is usual in the area also of snow, but the reserve of water in the soil guarantees a priori the complete development of the cycle. Temperatures have also been higher than normal, but even with a harsh summer in this respect, our technicians believe that the Verdejo variety will develop well.
Who said that winter is not important for the future harvest? In any case, we need only refer to the proverb: “A year of snow, a year of goods” or “A rainy winter, a plentiful summer”.