With the end of autumn and the fall of the leaves, comes one of the most important moments in terms of the work being done in the vineyard, the winter pruning.
Winter pruning should be carried out when the vines are in a state of vegetative rest, a period that ranges from the arrival of the cold to the ‘desborre‘ (that is, when the buds begin to leave).
The aim of winter pruning is to prepare the plant for the next vegetative cycle, define the number of buds per vine, which will later result in the production per hectare, together with the green works that are carried out during spring and summer.
Winter pruning it’s also necessary to lengthen the life of the vine and ensure the next harvest, always bearing in mind that it is necessary to achieve a correct relationship between the number of vine shoots, bunches and leaf surface.
By pruning, it is also possible to modify the shape of the vine, it is not the same to prune a vine in bush or in trellis. But the truth is that in both cases it is essential to consider several factors, especially in Appellations of Origin where the grapes from Bodegas Nexus & Frontaura come from: Ribera del Duero, Toro and Rueda.
On the one hand, these wine regions are characterized by very cold winters (although this is changing a bit due to climate change), where large frosts are recorded. It is not advisable to prune when the plant is frozen because the wood could crack.
Another peculiarity of our climate is the risk of late frosts and hail. For example, in 2017 there were great frosts at the end of April and the beginning of May that significantly reduced grape production in Castilla y León. In summer, there were also localized hailstones that reduced harvests.
It is not convenient to ignore these particularities of the climate, since for example a long pruning (leaving many buds per vine shoot) or late pruning will help to mitigate the damage of the adverse climatic effects.
A long pruning means, a priori, to seek greater production. However, it is also a way to prevent the damage of a spring frost: If from the beginning it will let few buds per wine shoot and suddenly it would frost, the number of bunches would be greatly reduced. However, if a long pruning is carried out, it is then possible to control the yields by green pruning and green harvesting.
In our case, this year we’ve started to do the pruning in Appellation of Origin Toro (Frontaura), but in Ribera del Duero (Nexus) we will not do it until January. The reason is that we have less vineyard area and because the plant cycle is somewhat later in the first case than in the second.
Pruning is mainly manual work, regardless of whether the vineyard is in a bush vines or in trellis. At Bodegas Nexus & Frontaura we have been working with the same team for many years, a team that carefully pampers each vine.