In order to delve deeper into the subject, we must first have a global vision of what terroir is. There is a tendency to think that it is a term that refers exclusively to soil, perhaps because of its phonetic similarity to the word terrain, but it is a much broader concept.
The terroir is a factor that gives the wine the quality of being different. If we make two wines with the same grape varieties and following an exact winemaking process in both cases, but from different locations, the result will never be the same.
Among the components that make up the terroir we can find: climate, soil, orography, grape variety and the hand of man.
In the case at hand, the parceling is not decided lightly, it is given by these conditions and its differentiation with the surrounding plots. Although its extension is not large, the microclimate may vary, for example, if it is closer to a river and is affected by fogs or milder temperatures. The type of soil can also change drastically and, therefore, its qualities. The orography will affect the hours of sunshine, the drainage of rainfall, the incidence of wind… it is obvious that vineyards located on a steep slope are not the same as others cultivated at the bottom of a valley. The varieties used in the production of a wine are also fundamental, as some have been linked to a region for centuries and are perfectly acclimatized to their environment. Finally, we must not forget the hand of man, who will decide the method of production, the planting system, the type of pruning, the work with the leaf mass, the time of harvesting, etc.
Therefore, a good vineyard parceling allows us to make the most of all these factors.
Why is parceling relevant in the wine context?
Differentiation of terroirs: Parceling, as mentioned above, makes it possible to identify and differentiate the different terroirs within a vineyard. Each parcel may have unique soil, sun exposure, drainage and microclimate characteristics, which in turn are reflected in the characteristics of the wine produced. By understanding these differences, winemakers can tailor management practices and grape variety selection to each plot, maximizing the expression of its potential.
Personalized management: Dividing the vineyard into smaller plots facilitates the personalized management of each plot. This involves adjusting the amount of water, nutrients and phytosanitary treatments according to the specific needs of each plot and variety. In addition, differentiated management techniques can be implemented, such as pruning, selective harvesting and canopy control (all the green parts of the plant), to optimize grape production and quality.
Disease and pest control: Parcelling can help limit the spread of diseases and pests in the vineyard. If one plot is affected, it is easier to isolate it and take specific control measures without affecting the entire vineyard. This is especially important in organic or low-impact viticulture, where the aim is to minimize the use of chemicals and promote a natural balance in the vineyard ecosystem.
Yield and quality evaluation: By having separate plots, it is possible to evaluate the yield and quality of each plot individually. This provides valuable information for the winegrower, as he can identify the plots that produce high quality grapes and those that require improvement. With this data, informed decisions can be made about vineyard management, clone selection, improving viticulture practices and planning future plantings.
Separate vinification: Parceling is also important in the vinification stage. If grapes from different plots are vinified separately, it is possible to know the specific characteristics of each plot and then make assemblages or blends to obtain more complex and balanced wines. This allows us to highlight the strengths of each plot and obtain wines with greater aromatic diversity and complexity.
Parcelling of our farms. The great treasure of the Martínez Bujanda Family
The vineyard at Finca Valpiedra alone is worth a visit. Its vines are planted on three terraces that descend to the banks of the Ebro. After several years of work and study, our technical team divided it into 14 different plots with altitudes between 406 and 427 meters. The exceptional conditions of the estate for vine growing, such as its special microclimate, influenced by the Sierra de Cantabria, to the north, and the Sierra de la Demanda, to the south, were taken into account in carrying out this parceling. Also the peculiar characteristics of its soil, composed of a mantle of boulders and limestone. The proximity of the river is the best natural protection against the risk of frost. All this has earned it the right to be selected to be part of the association Grandes Pagos de España.
Finca Antigua is perhaps one of the best examples of vineyard parceling that we can see. At present, it is divided into 40 different plotsThe different grapes of our wide varietal catalog are grown and harvested separately, ranging from the national varieties of viura, garnacha, tempranillo and moscatel to the international varieties of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and syrah, with which we elaborate our creative and avant-garde collection of varietals with crianza. In order to achieve this perfect palette of options with which to elaborate our varied range of wines, we had to carry out a reconversion of the estate that involved an arduous technical work of cataloguing and identifying plots and which concluded with the planting of new varieties with great potential to adapt to the terroir and the conservation of those capable of recovering from the scars of erosion. The altitude (900 meters) is the other parameter that deeply marks the character of our wines, ensuring that they do not exceed 14 degrees of alcohol, even in the hottest years.
The other Familia Martínez Bujanda vineyard chosen to be a member of the association of Grandes Pagos de España, due to its unique characteristics, is Finca Montepedroso. In this case we find an example diametrically opposed to the previous one, because here we have a vineyard of a single variety, the Verdejo grape. The differences here are marked by the different types of soil and the age of the vineyard. There are three types of soils characteristic of the Rueda D.O.: the alluvial soil (stone pebbles) that crowns the plateau and represents the largest area of the estate (70%); a clayey soil in a ravine, with a 10% slope where the oldest vineyards are located (31 years); and a soil with a large amount of silt and clay sediments, also in a ravine and with slopes of up to 20%. This previous selection in the vineyard allows us to offer two great wines, faithful representatives of the authentic Verdejo.
In summary, parceling in the vineyard is fundamental to understanding and maximizing the potential of each zone within a vineyard. It allows for a more personalized management, the identification of specific terroirs, disease and pest control, individual evaluation of plots and the possibility of separate vinification. All these aspects contribute to the production of quality wines and to the sustainable development of viticulture. The two basic pillars of our raison d’être. Now we can only invite you to try their wonderful differences. I’m sure you will enjoy them. Cheers!