With newly sharpened scissors in my hand, I stand there in front of the vines. I feel uncertain. I know I need to do a major pruning of each plant. But it is an art to know how.
The sun is rising. There is frost on the ground starting to melt. Little tiny flowers are opening and blooming in the warmth of the late winter sun. Some of them reach my face. They are long-awaited. Soon the thermometer is going to show 15 degrees Celsius. It is in the middle of February.
The most important thing now is to prune. Almost all the branches are cut-off close to the vine. But where do I cut? I have done this before, but I still have plenty to learn. My friend Pierluigi Fioravanti is teaching me with great pleasure.
Most of the branches are soon gone. Some are pruned to give grapes in 2017, others first next year.
My biggest mistake is that I don’t dear to cut too much. But soon enough I am cutting away. Branches from last year fall to the ground making a brown layer, like a spider web. Small pearls of sap are blinking in the sun.
I am deeply concentrated. Every plant is unique and needs to be pruned in its own way. Pierlugi reminds me about the rules. – But sometimes we need to deviate from them, he says. It is about that gut feeling. It feels wonderful. Nothing else matters right now.
Most of the vines are from the 1940s. Some of them are so old that they just had their last harvest. Some seem to make it another year. But most of them still seem to give us several good harvests.
When the vines are pruned, we need to collect the branches. They can be grinded and be of use as compost or burned.
Now, we are waiting for spring to arrive and give life to the small buds remaining on the vines.
Here are some videos of the pruning: