We head to our third and final vineyard in the Chianti Classico! This one run entirely by a young winemaker named Sophie in Castellina in Chianti, near Siena. Her winery is called Tregole (named for the “tre gole” or three valleys) on which their Sangiovese and Merlot are planted.
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Watch the Video
Luca interviews Sophie on the the difference between “guyot” and “cordone speronato” training methods for the plants.
Then Sophie teaches Lauren how to do the “green pruning” that will allow the plant to produce the best grapes!
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Buy Fietri and/or Solatione wines at exclusive Uncork Italy prices by clicking below! You’ll be buying direct from the wine producers in Italy themselves. We’ll be adding Tregole to the official list soon!
The Guyot dance
You have your grapes, you have your land but how you prune the vines is essential for producing high quality wine!
The guyot dance: The challenge of “cane training” vines
There are numerous methods of training the vines in Tuscany but the two most common are “cordone speronato” and “guyot” (also known as “cane training”) which is what Sophie uses at Tregole.
Essentially “guyot” consists of letting one slender branch produce 6-8 shoots to grow grapes, preserving a second branch to be used for the next year. During the winter, the previous summer’s “fruit producing” branch gets removed and a new branch is bent down to the wire to grow the grapes for the following summer.
Ok cool… but why? The vine is less vulnerable to frost this way, something important in the high hills of Chianti Classico where the summers can be hot but the winter months can be cold!
In contrast a “cordone speronato” has a thicker L-shaped branch that doesn’t get pruned away each year.
The best way to understand green pruning is to watch the second half of the video above where Sophie teaches Lauren how to do it!
Late may, early June in Chianti Classico means time for the green pruning – cutting away extra shoots and leaves from the vine.
This is necessary for a few reasons:
1) Without pruning intervention, the plant will grow into a big bushy… well… bush! And if you want that vine to produce great grapes that will become great wine, you have to ensure that enough air and sunlight can get in. Without these things, the plant is exposed to rot, parasites, and over-shading that keeps the grapes from ripening evenly.
2) You want all the grape’s energy to go to the shoots producing grapes and not to get wasted, nourishing extra shoots that aren’t grape producers.
Human & Vine
Both vine training systems and this early green pruning are an example of how wine can be the product of a harmonious blend between people and nature.
And this is why we are passionate about getting the word out about these small producers who are working so closely with the land. Wine CAN just be another product, the result of mixing grapes a certain way, adding chemical substances to get that perfect taste, and clever marketing to convince you to buy it.
But it can also be much more. The final representation of a thousand choices made by an individual in the vineyard about how to take care of a plant. How to be careful not cutting and wounding the plant too much (thus preventing it from growing well or producing fruits), how to truly nurture nature to produce not just a “sellable product” but something of value that represents all that work and effort in the vineyard.
Wine Word of the Week
“Potatura verde” (green pruning)
Siamo a fine Maggio ed è ora di fare la potatura verde!
It’s the end of May and time to do the green pruning!
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Lauren interviews Sophie and we’ll make Tregole wines available on Uncork Italy!