May: Work of the month in the vineyard5 May 2020
“Vineyard and cellar – 1910” is a series of articles that we present to you throughout the year 2020, month by month. The articles are taken from the 1910 “Wine Trade Directory” and describe the various works necessary for the grapes and wine production at the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1910 in May, work in the vineyard was marked by different green work, tillage and the first phytosanitary treatments.
Here is what can be read in the Wine Trade Directory:
Culture – Perform the second plowing and hoeing, set up the grafts made at the workshop, complete the grafts in the open field, complete the sowing (1) of the sand fields, started at the end of April; pinch and train the vine. Finally, at the time of flowering, proceed to the delicate operation of artificial fertilization (2) to obtain hybrid vines.
First anti-cryptogamic treatments – Cryptogamic diseases begin to show themselves in May; and it’s urgent to do a first treatment to prevent their damage. From the first fortnight, sulfur must be treated against powdery mildew in the Mediterranean region at least. At the time of flowering, a second sulfur treatment will have the best effects.
In the first days of the second fortnight, the copper solutions will be prepared: Bordeaux mixture, Burgundy mixture, celestial water against mildew. In the south and south-west, preventive treatment will be carried out against this plague and against “rots” (3).
Today, tillage, lifting and trellising of the vines are still relevant. Anti-cryptogamic disease treatments are also always carried out to protect the vine against attacks of mildew and powdery mildew.
Artificial fertilization, on the other hand, is a particular operation which is no longer carried out today in vineyards.
This step is useful in the creation and genetic improvement of varieties. Today it is carried out in Research centers for the creation of new clones or varieties of grapes.
The winemakers buy plans of grape vines (variety) and clones known for their agronomic characteristics adapted to this or that terroir or type of production. It is the nurserymen who produce these plants.
(1) Sowing consists of planting, between the rows of vines, hedges of reeds (rushes) or rye, barley and white oats, in a sandy vineyard, to prevent the sand from moving.
(2) The artificial fertilization consists in crossing vines between them in order to obtain new individuals with different genetics and therefore with different agronomic characteristics, such as for example a higher production of clusters, larger clusters or even a straight branch habit or else falling…
(3) “Rots” are cryptogamic diseases of the vine, that is, diseases caused by microscopic fungi, such as downy mildew and powdery mildew.
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