• JANUARY
  • FEBRUARY
  • MARCH
  • APRIL
  • MAY
  • JUNE
  • JULY
  • AUGUST
  • SEPTEMBER
  • OCTOBER
  • NOVEMBER
  • DECEMBER

THE VINES

The vines are dormant in January and the buds, which will burst in spring, are only just visible on the branches. At this stage, the vine is tolerant of very low temperatures, even lower than those usually experienced in Tuscany.
Winter or “dry “pruning takes place this month: excess shoots produced by the plant the previous year are removed, leaving a set number of buds per plant. Two vine training methods are used: the single or double arched cane Guyot method, which involves leaving one or two “fruit canes” of 6-7 buds each, or the “cordon trained” method, whereby 4/6 short shoots, one or two buds (“spurs”) long, are left on one horizontal cordon. The second method is used in the new vineyards.

vitiinverno


THE OLIVE TREES

The olive tree is evergreen and, although relatively little vegetative activity occurs during the dormant winter period, it does not lose its leaves.
In Tuscany, frost poses the greatest threat during these months. This is because, once temperatures fall below -5°C, the degree of damage increases as temperatures drop and the plant weakens.

THE VINES

The vines are still dormant.
Winter pruning continues. The vine cuttings are gathered up, taken to the end of the row and burned.
Maintenance work on the trellising structures is carried out. (stakes, posts, wires).

2febbraio (1)


THE OLIVE TREES

The winter dormancy period continues and the risk of frost damage increases.

THE VINES

Spring is drawing near and the buds begin to “swell” as they prepare to burst.
Once pruning of the Guyot vines is complete, the shoots are positioned by bending them to point downwards and attaching them to the wire below. This is done to ensure homogenous growth of the shoots in the following season.
Light, potassium rich, fertiliser is applied this month.
If the ground is ready, planting of cuttings begins. These are young vines grafted in the vineyards the previous summer. Any dead plants in the adult vineyards are also replaced with suitable protection.

3marzo


THE OLIVE TREES

The olive trees slowly begin to show signs of growth and the buds prepare to open.
The olive trees are pruned in spring: in Chianti the single trunk “polyconic vase” is the classic shape used. After serious damage caused by the great freeze of 1984, the trees were cut to the ground and 4/5 young shoots per plant were encouraged, each one being a branch of the “vase”. The tree needs to be pruned into shape or it becomes bushy.

THE VINES

As temperatures increase, the vines awaken fully from their winter rest. Buds burst and newly emerged shoots begin to grow, the roots begin to absorb water and the pruning wounds begin to “weep” drops of sap onto the ground.
The late frosts towards the end of the month pose a potential risk to the new shoots.
Positioning of the shoots on the Guyot pruned vines has been completed and it is now that potential vine diseases must be watched for.
Planting of the grafted vines continues.

4aprile


THE OLIVE TREES

The buds open and it is possible to see the ‘wood’ bud, from which the branches develop, and the “flower” bud that develops into flowers and then fruit.
Pruning continues.

THE VINES

The newly emerged shoots are growing vigorously and the inflorescences, just visible before, now begin to develop. Fruit is produced on the current year’s shoots. These shoots emerge from “compound” buds, which develop into shoots and fruit.
Suckers or non-fruit bearing shoots emerge from the base of the vine and must be removed: this is called “suckering”.
A non-chemical fungicidal treatment is applied. This is followed by mowing and shredding of the cover grasses and herbs planted in the vineyards.
Green cover cropping is used in the vineyards and the soil is not tilled. Weeds are periodically shredded and left on the ground.

5maggio


THE OLIVE TREES

The trees are growing vigourously: the “wood” buds have opened and new shoots begin to grow at a rate determined by the vigour of the tree and the fertility of the soil.
The “flower” buds prepare to begin flowering at the end of the month.

THE VINES

Flowering usually begins at the start of the month and is followed by “fruit setting” with the flowers beginning to abscise after being pollinated.
The new vine leaves (“pampini”) continue to grow vigorously and need to be trained from a horizontal or oblique positon to a vertical one to allow plenty of sunlight to penetrate the canopy and to facilitate mechanization in the vineyard.
This training is initially done by hand and then by a specialised machine. Once the shoots have reached a length of 120 cm, they are cut back or “topped” to encourage the production of lateral secondary offshoots or “femminelle”, a precious source of young leaves which play a role in the ripening of the bunches.
The soil is tilled a second time. In the vineyards that were planted with cover crops, the barley and clover are shredded.

6giugno


THE OLIVE TREES

Flowering and pollination are over within the first week of the month and are quickly followed by “fruit setting”, the development of tiny olives (drupes). An abundance of flowers does not always mean a bountiful olive yield because the olive tree, unlike the vine, can encounter various problems during and after pollination.

THE VINES

Due to high temperatures and the typically dry Tuscan summer, shoots growth slows down and usually only finishes at the end of the month. The berries and bunches increase in size until around the middle of the month when the berries touch each other and we have “bunch closure”.
In the vineyards with excess grapes, green harvesting is practised whereby bunches are thinned out to keep the quantity of grapes within the set limit of 1.5 kg per vine stock.

7luglio


THE OLIVE TREES

The drupes begin to grow in size, but have a propensity for “fruit drop”, the severity of which is determined by the conditions of the plant and of the season.

THE VINES

The red grapes begin “veraison”, acquiring their red colour due to the formation of anthocyanin in the skin: the beginning of ripening.
The white grapes destined for the production of Vinsanto lose their green colour and assume a translucent yellow colour.
Phytosanitary treatments are completed by the end of the month.

8agosto


THE OLIVE TREES

The olive tree’s shallow roots make it vulnerable in low rainfall conditions. A very dry season could result in significant fruit drop.
The soil is usually tilled a second time to remove any infestations that may be present.

THE VINES

The grapes continue to ripen. While the acids decrease, the tannin and anthocyanin content in the skin increases, as does the sugar content in the pulp. The skin and the pulp become progressively softer. The duration of this process depends on seasonal conditions.
“Leaf thinning” is carried out; the foliage around the north or east side of the bunches is removed to allow direct sunlight to reach the fruit and to reduce humidity.
It is now time to decide when to pick the grapes. A variety of factors influences this decision: weather conditions and forecast, the maturity and health of the grapes and the availability of labour.
The bunches of Malvasia del Chianti and Trebbiano Toscano that have been selected for Vinsanto production are picked now. They will be put out to dry for a few months (usually at least three).
With the red grapes, the Merlot are usually picked first (around the 10-15 September), soon afterwards the Syrah and 10-12 days later the Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested.


THE OLIVE TREES

The fruit continues to increase in size, as does the production of oil inside the drupe.
Suckers are removed from the trees. These non-fruit bearing branches grow out from old wood or from the base of the plant.
Insecticides are not usually necessary with the olive tree, excepting in rare cases of an olive fruit fly infestation.

THE VINES

The grape harvest is in full swing during the first fifteen days. The grapes are all handpicked and any unhealthy or unripe bunches are removed. The harvest is usually over by the middle of the month.

10ottobre


THE OLIVE TREES

The production of oil in the drupe continues and the fruit slowly begins to change colour. Purple patches begin to form on the green skins and these patches spread and darken until the olives are completely black (“veraison”).

THE VINES

The foliage on the vines begins to change from green to yellow, brown and red, turning the vineyards in a spectacular patchwork of colour.
As it gets cooler, the plants prepare for their winter rest.
Once temperatures drop significantly, the leaves dry and drop off.
A cover crop of barley and clover is planted between the vine rows.

11novembre (1)


THE OLIVE TREES

“Veraison” continues; ready for the harvest at the start of the month. The olives are handpicked, using small hand held rakes with which the olives are “combed” off the branches. The olives fall onto special net sheeting on the ground, from where they are gathered up, emptied into perforated plastic crates and taken directly to the mill. The perfect time to harvest is when the olives are partly green and partly black.
Olives harvested early usually produce a superior quality oil.

THE VINES

The vines are completely dormant during the winter. Pruning begins in the vineyards while the spring frosts pose no risk.

12dicembre


THE OLIVE TREES

The harvest is usually over within the first few days of the month.
The olive trees begin their winter dormancy period.