Have you ever wondered what the quality of the wine you consume depends on? It is possible that many of the cultivation and ripening processes have evolved considerably in recent decades. But in essence, the flavour, taste and quality of any wine are still worked from here, from the origin.
Everything begins in the vineyard
To make a great wine, you have to work a great vineyard. What is so obvious is sometimes difficult to understand. The wine consumer, and not only the amateur but also those who already have some knowledge in this regard, often forgets that the result of an excellent product is also the result of work in the field.
At Finca Vistahermos we have been doing this work with real passion for many years and we are convinced that the love we put in it is also appreciated in the final result.
A biological cycle that repeats itself every 12 months
Have you visited La Rioja before? If you haven’t yet had the chance to see its extensive vineyards, it’s a sight worth seeing. And if you’ve already been lucky enough to be in these lands, you’ll be able to see how every moment of the year is different.
There are two important calendars to keep in mind when growing vines. On the one hand, there is the twelve-month biological cycle, which is repeated in the same way in every corner of the world and during which the tree produces its fruits. On the other hand, there is the life cycle, which, depending on the variety of the vine and the area of cultivation, can last around 40 years.
The biological cycle is the one that most worries winegrowers because it is the one that develops in the short term and with which each year a harvest is obtained. As weather conditions are not always the same, harvests also vary from year to year. This fact, together with the different fermentation and ripening processes that are given to the grape, will determine the quality of the vintage.
What maintenance do vineyards need until the grape harvest?
Like any other fruit tree, the vine needs special care to ensure optimum grape production and quality.
After each year’s harvest, the vineyards remain at rest throughout the winter. This period is used for complementary work such as fertilising and preparing the soil for a new harvest. Rest is essential for the vineyards to recover their strength after bearing good fruit. It will be necessary to wait until spring for the sap to begin to ascend through the plant and the first shoots sprout on the bare shoots there during the months of March and April.
In the middle of May it is usual to start to ¨espergurar¨ , a technique that consists of leaving only the necessary shoots and pruning the secondary ones that have been born from other shoots or from the vine itself. In this way, in the future, the vine is not overloaded and develops much better.
It will be necessary to wait until the end of May or the beginning of June for the first embryos to sprout. At this time, the suppression of sterile branches or spreading is carried out. This means that the winegrower will have to check which appendages have developed in a sterile manner and are therefore not going to bear fruit, in order to proceed with their elimination.
The small green fruits that later become grapes appear at the beginning of July, always depending on the weather conditions. When these small bunches have already formed, it is necessary to clean or thin the vine by pruning the longest shoots and sacrificing some bunches that are still young in order to benefit from a higher quality harvest, not quantity.
As the days go by, the grapes get fatter and take on colour or shape depending on their variety: it is time for veraison. A second bunch thinning can be carried out around the middle of August. The ripening of the grape, which is nothing more than the concentration of sugars that take the lead over the acids, takes place during the consecutive weeks until the perfect ripening of the fruit.
The month of October is one of the most exciting not only in Finca Vistahermosa but in the whole of La Rioja: the harvest begins. The grapes are perfectly formed and at their optimum point of ripeness. Depending on the characteristics of each soil, this procedure can be carried out manually or mechanically. Although in both cases the fruit is harvested in very good conditions, the traditional and hand-picked harvest is the one that best identifies with the production of high quality wines. It has a higher cost because it is a 100% work developed by people, but the careful treatment that receives each cluster is priceless.
Once the harvest is over, the vineyards return to that resting process with which the cycle ends and starts again. But at Finca Vistahermosa we are active all year round. We look forward to your visit in any season to tell you more curiosities about wine production.