In some wine regions, such as Burgundy, quality wines are produced on steep slopes where the not very fertile soils make the control of the vine vigour easier, and the vines produce grapes of outstanding quality. However, on flat lands where the sediments of the weathered rocks, soils and minerals transported from the slopes have deposited, the soils are usually very fertile, and they are usually used for the cultivation of fodder crops.

In the 90s, when the wines of Priorat started to be mentioned by the international press, we had a doubt concerning the use of traditional varieties, such as Garnatxa and Carinyena, in the new crops in terraces. Could we keep the same quality and personality of the wines from old vines with those grapes from young vines?

Walking through the young vines during the harvest time, we observed loose grape bunches hanging from the thin shoots, and they stood out because of its uniform ripening, whereas with larger diameter shoots, the grape bunches were compact, with big, close grapes. We decided to quantify this relationship by carrying out a small statistical study which confirmed what we had observed, and which led us towards the search for thinner shoots in order to get better quality grapes, controlling the vine vigour.

A way to get those thinner shoots, according to what we observed after having ruled out some options, was to go for the idea of increasing the number of shoots. But we needed space to do this, and in our case, the vines were already formed, and the arm was limited. Therefore, we used a double training in one of the estates where we worked, and for the other estate we invented the circular training system.

We knew the approximate diameter that the shoots of our vines needed to have, but we didn’t know how many shoots per plant we needed, so we studied how our “ideal” shoot had to be. In order to do it, we had to weigh every shoot to know its weight in grams, and with this information, find out tits average weight, the average weight that we needed to get grapes with an ideal morphology.

Without going into more details, finally we supported an intelligent pruning keeping the adequate number of shoots according to the vigour of each vine in order to distribute it and have a direct impact in the quality of the grapes.

Later, you will be able to find more information about this topic, and others which are just as interesting, in a new section of exclusively dedicated to the studies and experiences of Josep Lluís Pérez and Montse Ovejero.

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