Our harvest begins in the month of September with the preparation of the cellars to receive the first harvest of the Primitivo grape. We generally harvest the Primitivo, in several rounds, towards the middle of the month, selecting the ripest and most suitable grapes for the winemaking process. The selection process is indeed one of the milestones of winemaking but it is not the beginning. The grape harvest starts after a long and meticulous preparation that lasts all twelve months of the year. Immediately after the end of the previous harvest, the preparation begins with a deep ploughing to oxygenate the soil and roots, rewarding their generous support to the great labour just completed.
It is a continuous process directed towards the attainment of our only aim: the quality, the passion, and the attention have to flow from the bottle as the extreme rendering of spirit and love employed to grow the fruit of our labour.
This is a constant course characterized by some basic steps. From the end of November until the end of February, the first important step is carried out: the pruning of dead shoots. For this kind of pruning, in our growing system for the Primitivo, espalier with double head, we leave two vine-shoots long enough to contain from six to eight gems each. We’ll further select them at the following pruning.
The pruning of dead shoots for the Greco, with a two to four-heads pergola system, is similar but it’s characterized by a stricter selection during the pruning of the living ones. At the end of April, when the risk of frost is over, the last bud, that at this time measures 15 to 20 centimetres, is removed. This sacrifice is oriented to preserve from the frost the other buds still not open, and to give energy to their vigorous growth.
Between the second half of May and the first half of June, with the pruning of living shoots, another important step takes place: the shoot selection. We leave just three or five shoots for every vine branch of the Primitivo and two or three for the Greco. From the second half of June until the second half of July, we complete the work with the different steps of growing-bud tying, stripping of leaves and secondary gems and the selective reduction of bunches. This detailed retouch consists of removing the older leaves (by this time no more useful for the biochemical synthesis of the plant), the “femminelle” (a secondary fruitless vegetation that weighs down the development of the vine) and the excess bunches (to produce authentic high quality natural organic wines and respect the regulations of the Gioia del Colle D.O.C. Primitivo). With only eight to ten bunches per vine left, they reach a total weight not above two kilos for each Primitivo vine and four for Greco.
All these phases are done rigorously by hand, and carried out in different steps respecting the constant vegetative evolution of the vine. At the end of this stage, the vine has arrived at its final state. Successively , the constant and slow veraison (turning dark coloured) and ripening take place and, soon after, the so long desired fruit of this cyclic love story is finally ready.
We are constantly present in the vineyard so we can carefully monitor the health state of our vines and, just if necessary, we appropriately intervene in time, following our organic principles. In order to make our monitoring more effective, we have planted roses in the vineyard. The rose suffers the same pathologies of the vine, but it’s much more sensitive and works to signal any signs of danger.
This picture is completed by superficial ploughing and hoeing the ground at the vine base a couple of times a year, in Spring and in Summer, to create a thermal barrier to the fresh layer of ground where roots lodge, and free them from weeds. Another important practice for the nutriment of the vines consists of organic manuring and mineral re-integration carried out every two to three years to complement our rocky soil.
Day after day we lead our vines by hand until the grape harvest. To decide the best time to begin harvesting, we carry out chemical and organoleptic tests on grape samples, to verify the ripening level and the parameters important for wine-making. From the vineyards located all around the winery, the just picked grapes are immediately taken in the cellar to begin the wine-making.
After the completion of the first harvesting stages for the Primitivo, we wait for the first days of October to begin with the Greco, choosing with the same attention the most suitable moment. The last step of our vintage is completed with the harvest of the “racemi” that takes place around mid October.