Under the mid-June sun, the prepared soil appears as a lighter portion of the vineyards’ green slopes.
The tractor expertly moves from left to right and back, from top to bottom. The men on the tractor and on the ground, who had met in the farmhouse early in the morning, repeat old and new gestures. Thus a vineyard of Nizza arises.
If you look up the hill, the bell tower of the church of Castelnuvo Calcea dominates the landscape. The area is called Gavelli, in the heart of the territory of Nizza docg. It is the most important area for the vineyards of Coppo. The vineyard of Riserva della Famiglia is just a few steps away.
This new vineyard, one hectare of Barbera, will produce Nizza docg.
The lower section, more sheltered and cold, will be destined to Chardonnay.
Coppo’s oenologist and agronomist, Gianmario, explains the process of planting a new vineyard.
“Firstly, we get a digital drawing of the vineyard. In this case, We divided the surface using satellite points: through that antenna, which communicates directly with the tractor, we are guided to the exact points where we decided to place the first vine in the row. ”
How do you choose a terrain?
“This was already a vineyard of Barbera, therefore we already knew the potential of the vineyard. Otherwise, we would have had to carry out a preliminary investigation considering the position, the exposure, and the analysis of the terrain to understand if the area possesses the fundamental characteristics to become a good vineyard.
What kind of vineyard is this?
“Here we have a southern exposure, with a typical soil of Castelnuovo Calcea. The components of silt and clay prevail on the sandy ones. An ideal soil for a quality Barbera. Even the climate of this area, on a lower altitude compared to the area of Canelli for example, is more suitable for the ripening of Barbera grapes. ”
How do you plant vine shoots?
Vine shoots are divided into two parts: the upper section is Barbera, a varietal clone of vitis vinifera. This part is grafted on the lower section of the shoots, a rooted, longer rootstock, which is a breed of American vines.
Normally the rooted vines are prepared by cutting part of the roots and inserting them into a hole, with an instrument called fork, in the ground. Thanks to the ground conditions and the not too steep slope, today we’re able to do it with a mechanism connected to the tractor.
How does this device work?
A person places the rooted vines on a belt that carries the shoots in a small ditch and two joined plows of the machine prepare the ground. The rooted vines are placed horizontally in the ground and then two other tools close it. To sum up, the mechanism prepares the hole, positions the shoots and closes the hole ”.
Why does a person follow the tractor on foot?
“The mechanism may break the screw or may not place the vine well. The person who follows it corrects the possible error of the machine. Manual work is always decisive to check that the job is perfect. Even at the outer limits of the newly planted vineyard, the borders are once again checked by hand to correct any possible mistakes. ”
What will the life cycle of this new vineyard be?
“Now we are in June. The grapevine is usually planted in spring or close to the summer period or later in autumn. These are the periods in which the root system of the vine develops properly and prepares itself to endure a period that might be very hot, causing its death. ”
What treatments will be needed?
“After arranging the cuttings, we will plant all the supporting organs: the poles, the wires, the braces. We will take great care, especially in a year like this, to keep the small vine free of grass so that it is not suffocated. Especially next year, when the breeding phase will begin, according to the scheme with which the vegetative growth of the plant will develop: in this case it will be the guyot “.
When will we see plants and grapes?
“This year we will see some small leaves, the second year we will see some buds, theoretically the third and fourth year the vine will reach the production phase”.
What wine will this vine give us?
“Considering the terrain and the exposure, this vineyard will produce Barbera grapes for Nizza docg.” For the Pomorosso and beyond.
In this vineyard there will not be only Barbera.
“According to a pattern common to our neighboring vineyards, in the last part, the lower section, colder and less suitable for Barbera, we are planting Chardonnay. Chardonnay needs heat but a little less light and, to preserve its freshness, also a cooler climate “.
How long will this vineyard live?
“The theory would say that the vineyard is economically productive until the age of thirty then it starts to yield less. Coppo plants his vineyards without giving himself a limit. We pay as much attention as possible to the vineyard system, both for the cuttings and for the materials used: we believe that a longer “career” of a vineyard is in our best interest. For this reason, the vineyard does not have a deadline for Coppo. We plant this vineyard thinking it can last forever.