Our Adopt a row project began in 2017 and now counts more than 250 Adopters who have believed in and signed up for the initiative. They come to our cellar in Monforte d’Alba from all over Italy and beyond. Many Adopters come from Russia, the US and Sweden.
Though there is great diversity in this group, they are united by a single passion for great Langa wine. Several times a year each Adopter can visit their row. In this way, they can watch the vine develop and see the work that accompanies the growth cycle.
The different growth phases happen at specific stages that are not easily explained to people who don’t work in the field. It’s best to see all the changes that each season brings with your own eyes.
To best understand the various stages it’s useful to start with the winter months when the vine is at rest.
This period of repose doesn’t mean there is nothing to do in the vineyard!
Around January or February the important and delicate job of pruning begins.Pruning is a manual task and serves to identify the branches and shoots that will give a particular form to the vine. This form allows the plant to support the weight of grapes and benefit from the climatic conditions that differ from zone to zone. Pruning is specific to each type of vineyard; the training system we employ is called Guyot.This technique provides greater control over the yield, better exposure to sunlight and good ventilation.
When spring comes, you’ll be able to see the vines ‘weep’, a yearly phenomenon.
A colourless sap produced by the vine drips from the pruning cuts that were made in winter. This weeping is a sign of the reawakening of the vine as the sap rises, a consequence of the first warm rays of the spring sun.
Next come the new buds which then develop and flower. At this point the vine undergoes its most rapid development.
The winegrower’s job is to arrange the buds and tie them to the trellis wires. The wires are horizontal and anchored to stakes at the end of each row. Once the flowers are fertilised they begin to transform into the much-awaited grape clusters.
At the beginning of the summer they are small and bright green; following veraison, they will begin to change colour as they ripen further and continue to build sugar content. If too many grape clusters form before ripening is complete, the ‘green harvest’ is carried out, that is, the manual removal of the excess clusters.
In this way, the carefully selected, remaining clusters ripen optimally contributing to grape quality and reducing quantity.
Towards September or October, as the leaves begin to change colour and autumn arrives, the grapes are ready to be harvested. The perfect moment to begin the harvest is decided according to many factors. Some of these are as follows: the grape variety, the weather conditions in that particular year, and the type of wine to be produced. The harvest is without doubt one of the most important events of the year, filled with expectations and the emotions arising from a year’s hard work.
Success is never taken for granted until the last bunch of grapes has been harvested. The plant, now denuded, prepares for winter and work carries on in the cellar.
Each year is a different story, a new adventure, with everything to rediscover. Taking part means being a joint protagonist and making your own contribution to the writing of this exciting story.