Those who are prepared are not surprised. Said our viticulturist Roman Slouk and right after the New Year he started together with the traditional group of eleven cutters the winter pruning of vines in the Sonberk vineyard. However, differently than last year...
For this year's cut we are basing it on last year's conditions and meteorological measurements that we have been carrying out at Sonberk for eleven years. While 2021 brought us a rainfall of 668 mm, in 2022 it was a third less. It is likely that 2023 will again be a dry year, and we are preparing for it in that spirit: we are cutting back to fewer eyes on the draws. The result will be fewer summer plants and fewer grapes. On the other hand, it will be easier for the vines to supply water to the shoots and grapes. Therefore, you could say that the pruning is economical for the growth of the vine.
However, preparing for dry days is not just about the vines. We also work with the inter-rows - that is, the soil and plants between the rows of vines. As we have written in the past, the greening of the inter-row is an important regulator of soil moisture. When it rains, the plants take up excess moisture. When it is dry, we proceed to mowing so that the inter-row does not take moisture from the vines. If it is very dry, we leave every second inter-row as a black fallow, i.e. completely devoid of vegetation.
We started preparing the inter-rows for 2023 at the end of 2022. As soon as the vintage was over, we split the soil and sowed half the rows with winter rye. It came up nicely in Advent, then was covered with snow. Now the rye has grown back and will be ploughed into the soil in the spring. The organic matter will then nourish the soil with nitrogen and the soil edaphon - bacteria, earthworms, insects and nematodes - will feast on it.
After the winter rye, the meadow plant mix comes into its own in the row between the rows. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Have a good winter, hopefully soon with snow according to the old Czech saying Snow in February, the fields (and vineyards!) are getting stronger.
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