We tilled the land in early December 2018, the first time we had done so in a year.
There was abundant grass cover at the time. It was left in the soil as organic matter.
Once New Years’ festivities were over, we returned our herd of 10 sheep to the vineyard until February 18, when there was barely anything for them to eat. Again, the sheep were very productive. Their excrement maintains the fertility of the soil, providing the soil with the correct level of natural nutrients. Microbial activity in the soil is also given a boost, via the fermentation of the live organic matter added to the soil.
This year we brought pruning forward to March 11, so that it would not continue beyond the first days of April.
The young vines, which are barely two years old and are still unprotected, suffered damage as a result of the three hailstorms that occurred in 2018.
We began pruning with the most developed vines. We wanted to capitalise on the bleeding to capture as many nutrients as possible, despite the risk of frost. We continued with the weakest vines, slowing their movement, since their ability to face late frosts is very limited.
On April 8, well into spring, we completed the winter pruning process. The buds on the one-year old branches were bursting, while those of the oldest branches had not flowered yet.
On April 25, 5% of the Chardonnay and Viognier vines were beginning to unfurl their first leaves (barely 3cm). In the rest of the vineyard, buds had stopped opening 10 days earlier.
There was a delay of 15 days compared with 2018. As a result the harvest continued until October 5, by which time temperatures had fallen significantly. The uncertainty began early this season.
This year, the new vision introduced in the management of the vineyard by our oenologist, María José Fernández, has been clear to see.
The wood used to support the vines is being replaced and the vineyard is becoming more uniform in its formation. The youngest vines were pruned in a Y-shape and have started to produce their first bunches.
This season, we have made the drastic decision to promote the growth and strength of the plant at the expense of production, which, in any event, will be of excellent quality.