A good sleep is healthy for us all and the same is true for a vineyard, which sleeps over the winter. When the plant has given all it’s got, when the intense work that this living being has been finally transformed into fruit in the form of grapes, it truly deserves a rest. As autumn arrives, the leaves fall, leaving branches and twigs bare and the sap withdraws into the heart of the plany.
Pruning begins at around the same time as the first frosts hit the vineyards.By pruning, we control how the plant will grow and also define the number of bunches that the vine will produce. At La Emperatriz, we wait until the plant has lost absolutely all of its leaves before beginning pruning, as this indicates that there is no longer any sap at all flowing in the branches and twigs and we will not lose any strength in the vines for the following years. This year, we waited until 12 December for team leader Miguel Benito to get out his trusted shears and get to work. Miguel manages our vineyards at Finca la Emperatriz and has a team of four people to carry out all the vineyard tasks throughout the year, with an extra couple of people taken on when work is at its most intense.
Pruning does not means just cutting last year’s shoots. Part of them will be mulched to put back onto the vineyard as a natural fertiliser and the rest will be tied into bundles and kept in one of the storerooms as a vital ingredient for traditional barbecues – lamb chops could not have a better flavouring than from the smoke of vineyard twigs.
The pruning campaign came to an end on the 30th of March this year. It took three and half months of hard, precise and conscientious work to prepare the vines to yet again produce the best possible fruit from our terroir.