Diary of a vine: notes from May

May 1, 2012

During the last days of April, I was repeatedly covered by water. It rained a lot. I was worried because I feared that the climatic conditions could lead to the development of certain fungal diseases like peronospora and oidium. Peronospora infections in this period of the season must be avoided because they can turn out to be particularly grave and harmful, not just for my leaves, but also for my little berries, which, in this moment, are just as vulnerable as the other parts of me.

In reality, the rain has been very useful, considering that many months passed without any water and the soils began to be dry. Now it’s important that my roots don’t have any problems finding water so that I will be properly hydrated. Otherwise, I would be too stressed to do my job. The old folks know this well. There’s a saying Pugliese dialect, se chioe ad aprile, se binchia lu barile (if it rains in April, the barrels will be full).

May 10, 2012

It’s time now: the olive trees are in full bloom and in just a few days, some of us will be able to show off our own flowers. Once flowering takes place, our first little berries will begin to appear. Even if I’m no longer as young as I used to be, I still can’t understand the difference between the flowering phase and the one that follows, “fruit set” or “setting.” From what I can tell, they happen at the same time, without interruption. Flowering takes more than one days. It takes 2-3 days for every flower to be completed. And it takes a week for the entire bunch, roughly 10 days for each of us (single plants) and 15 for the entire vineyard. We’re hoping that good weather will follow so that the process continues without incident. These two phases (flowering and fruit set) are very delicate and they could easily be influenced and disturbed by different factors: rain, temperature, wind, and the availability of nutrients and water.

—Cataldo Ferrari, vineyard manager

Stay tuned for the next installment next week…

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