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IN THE VINEYARD
Wine is first and foremost an agricultural product whose birthplace is a vineyard. Fine winemakers start with the highest quality grapes and try to maintain that quality through the winemaking process all the way into the bottle, making decisions based on science, their
own taste, and historical traditions. Certain grapes are better suited to certain areas. What
we think of as classic regions are simply places where grapes have been growing for hundreds of years. Some areas make their best wine from single grapes grown in specific vineyards: regions like Barolo in Northern Italy, and Burgundy and the Northern Rhône Valley in France. Some areas, like Bordeaux and the Southern Rhône, specialize in blended wines. In Bordeaux, the unpredictable Atlantic climate means that some grapes won’t ripen fully or will be damaged each year. Blending means winemakers can use the best grapes from vintage to create consistent wines. The basis of great wine is in the soil: grapes need just enough nutrition, but not too much. Vines that suffer during the year and older vines may produce smaller amounts of good quality fruit. Vignerons are always looking for a balance between the soil and microclimate, hoping for enough rain to keep the vines alive but not so much that it could dilute the grapes or encourage disease. Winemakers choose their vineyard site for the soil best suited to help grapes grow in their climate. In a vineyard at Tenuta Tignanello, for example, alberese soil (a high calcium soil made up of fossils) contains light-coloured stones that reflect sunlight to the vines, encouraging photosynthesis. These stones also retain heat at night, keeping the vines warm. The aspect of a vineyard (a combination of its slope and which direction it faces)also determines how much sunlight the vines receive and how protected they are from cold and frost. In addition to choosing a site with good soil and favourable aspect, vignerons can train and prune the vines in various way to produce the effect that is best for the grapes.
  • Oct 01, 2020
  • Category: News
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