After about a month, we ask again our agronomist about the condition of our vineyards. How are the vines reacting to the abnormal temperatures(very high) and drought at this time?
Francesco Caselli says: “The situation differs from vineyard to vineyard, depending on the age of the vineyards, exposure, and soil”
We can learn so much from his description of the diverse conditions in the vineyards and the reasons behind them.
“Some of the youngest vineyards(5/6 years old) show clear signs of water stress. Vineyards that, no longer finding water resources in the soil, begin to draw nutrients from the grapes. The grapes stop growing, they will never ripen, the plants themselves are under such stress that they stop growing. These are vines that did not have the happiest of childhoods, the climatic conditions in their early growing years were not always optimal, and now they are showing their vulnerability.
Location, valley bottom or uphill, of course affects, both the depth to which the roots find water and sun exposure. There are no evidence of burn marks so far; proper management of greenery here is important to ensure proper protection.
Older vines are doing well, strong and with deep roots, showing no signs of stress so far.
We hope for some rain. Unfortunately, in some vineyards the process is considered irreversible at this point. A few millimeters of rain (not actually foreseen) could instead cool the roots of some vineyards. As the last few days have seen reduced night/day temperature ranges, which instead have so far ensured coolness in many vineyards.
Soil is important in this respect: sandy and skeleton-rich soils are draining; in these soils a few millimeters of water might just cool the roots. Soils richer in clay have the prerogative of retaining water better, but exposed to high temperatures they crack at the surface, thus allowing heat to pass into the soil. More mixed soils provide more root protection.
We are approaching August, the days will get shorter, providing more hours of darkness, so ideally the soil, the plants themselves, will enjoy the cooler nighttime weather longer. If the sky wants to donate some water, it won’t hurt, some vineyards are still in time to give us a great harvest!”