In February at least we leave behind the thick fogs so present in this area of the Ribera del Duero. Freezing mornings followed by sunny days remind us it is time to start with winter pruning.
In Bodegas Nexus&Frontaura we do it twice, since we produce under the two most important red wine Appellations of Origin: Ribera del Duero and Toro. As every year, following our well-known oenologue Juan Martín-Hinojal’s directions, we traditionally start winter pruning in the estate Valdelacasa (Toro), since this small location from Zamora (Castille Y León) is where the Nexus & Frontaura team started its winemaking journey. Then we continue with our 5 vineyards in the Ribera del Duero.
This hard task which has an important influence on the vines production is made on a total of 160 hectares of own vineyard by expert viticulturists.
Together with the harvest, pruning is definitely one of the most, if not the most, important tasks in the vineyard. It consists of cutting off as much of the old wood as possible leaving just a few buds. This will encourage the growth of new wood, which is where the fruit is produced. Pruning enables us to control production and to avoid poor air circulation, which encourages vine diseases.
Both in Toro and Pesquera de Duero we practice two different pruning systems, depending on the way our grapes are planted. On our older vines, which are head trained following the tradition, we practice the “gobelet” pruning method. We form three arms around a central base to distribute and aerate the clusters. At the end of the arms the spurs are left and they will produce shoots that will bear the fruit. Spur pruning is done on vines that retain one or two pairs of long canes (a permanent cordon) trained along a trellis system. Each winter, new canes that have grown along the permanent cordon are cut back to a small shoot containing two buds, known as a spurs. In spring new growth develops from the buds on the spur.
After pruning, we pick all the old wood up, crush it and throw it back to the soil so that its decomposition adds organic matter to the vines.
The secret of pruning grapes is the vegetative-reproductive balance the viticulturist achieves. It warrants an optimal ripening to get the best grapes that will enable NEXUS&FRONTAURA to produce the top wines we love.