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Keep an eye on your vine

Learning the importance of the little things
in the balance of the ecosystem

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Do you want to be “sponsored as a patron” by an organic vine?

You’ll be assigned, exclusively, a vine from our organic vineyard. You can follow, in real time, its evolution: worry about the weather, endure pests and enjoy watching the beauty of veraison (ripening of the grapes), the weeping vines, budding (or budbreak).

You can also come to visit the vine, learn about its handling and to enjoy it. You can attend the meetings which we regularly organise: pruning, tipping (or pinching off), thinning, the harvest and the arrival of new wine.

We say that the vine is a godmother as it is the vine which teaches us, the patrons, the principles of agriculture and the virtue of patience. Learning what it is and what is done in an organic vineyard: biological pest control, the role of hedges and insects, fertilisation by means of vegetation cover, indigenous yeasts and the importance of the soil in wine.

Learning the importance of the “little things” in the balance of the ecosystem: ladybugs, insects, biodiversity.

And at the end of each crop we will have the opportunity to see that, as always, we reap what we sow.

All things considered, we want you to understand why we say that our wines are made in the vineyard, the reason behind why our wines belong to their soil.

Keep an eye on your vine. Report by Sensi Márquez for Canal Sur News Andalucía.


 

 

The elaboration of the wine commences in the vineyard. Keep an eye on your vine Stages.

The period between the end of the harvest and the moment of pruning is traditionally known as “dormancy of the vine”.

After the harvest, the vine is completely stripped of its leaves. For white grape varieties, their leaves turn yellow until falling off, whilst for red grape varieties, the leaves may also turn yellow or have red or brown hues. This fact in itself is also known as “vine defoliation”. As a whole, offering spectacular scenery, the vineyard displays the entire palette of browns.

Once it is completely leafless, we consider at that moment that the vine is in its full vegetative dormancy phase.

When the ambient temperature drops to a constant 3-4 °C, the plant enters the so-called vegetative dormancy, something like a winter hibernation: the sap stops on the plant and ceases flowing. In this dormancy period, the buds are unable to sprout; it is said to be asleep.

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The vine is a climbing plant whose branches (which we call vine shoots or branch tendrils), can reach up to 30 metres long. The objective of the pruning is to reduce the number and length of the vine shoots or branch tendrils in order for the vine to produce fewer clusters, but of a thicker and better quality. Pruning extends the life of the vine and ensures the harvest year to year.

Pruning is undertaken in plain winter when the vines are to all intents and purposes practically asleep, resting, taking advantage of the fact that the plant is hibernating and the circulation of the sap decreased. At that moment the remaining vine shoots or branch tendrils of the vine can stripped off without fear that it “bleeds”.

Julia, a patron, pruning her vine.

Igor oversees the pruning by the patrons.

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Our vineyard is dormant from November until spring. Then, as soil temperatures increase, the roots of vines enter once again into activity and sap starts to concentrate and flow again.

The sap does not, so far, have vegetation to feed and therefore passes through the pruning cuts, giving the sensation that the vine is weeping. This period of melancholy lasts approximately three weeks and rarely does this liquid change. When this occurs, it takes on a curious reddish appearance, and is called “lloro sangrante” (bloody weeping).

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During the last days of March and early April, when the average temperature of ten degrees in the vineyard is exceeded , the strain enters once again into activity, the new shoots of the plant (of a green colour) appear. The sap, which had remained motionless since November, commences to circulate once again.

At this point, the leafy matter, emerges, the bud which has been swelling and elongating until appearing on the exterior of a green tip made up by the end of the green shoot. From there on, the rudimentary leaves appear whose base is still protected by the leafy matter . The following step is the definition of the leaf, where the varietal character can already be discerned and the vine shoot with leaves is completely visible.

A mild winter causes an early bursting of buds and a harsh winter entails a late bursting of buds. During the winter and early spring, the bud cell activity emerges at approximately 10 °C.

From this stage on, the rudimentary clusters appear at the end of the green shoot, these clusters spacing out, spreading and isolating themselves on the vine shoot with leaves until the clusters are in a state of inflorescence. The inflorescences are branches of the stem, with limited growth, blossom carriers.

And all this happens in just 10 days.

The flowering is one of the most important stages of the life cycle of the vine as the flowers will shape the grape seeds which make up the clusters. The flowering of the vine is usually rather inconspicuous, small in size, approximately 2 mm long and green. In those flowers which are already open one can verify (and count) its five petals. In its interior one can see the grape seed which will grow and ripen.

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Veraison (ripening of the grapes) occurs with the advent of summer, which is the time when the grape seed paralyses the growth, losing chlorophyll and changing colour. In the white grape varieties, as is the case of our grapes Pedro Ximénez or Verdejo, the grape changes from green to yellow. In the red grape varieties, turning red or blue.

The veraison (ripening of the grapes) process can be considered the commencement of a countdown which calculates approximately after 45-50 days, the time of harvest.

When the grape seeds commence to ripen it is said that it is “beginning to ripen” or that “the vineyard is painting”. The etymology of the word “enverar” (to begin to ripen) is Latin for “invariare” which means “to change colour”.

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At the end of May the vineyard usually proceeds to the “tipping” or “pinching off” which consisting in cutting the tip of the branches (the vine shoots or branch tendrils) possessing the young leaves. Thus, seeking to limit the growth of the vine and to concentrate the nutrients in the grapes.

The ideal moment for the stripping is in full flowering. If carried out prior to or at the commencement of the flowering, this increases the competition with the clusters. If carried out after flowering, it has no effect on the fruit bearing (the transformation of the vine flower on the grape seed).

The leaf stripping, meanwhile, consists in the removal of the leaves or canopy which are near the clusters so as to increase their exposure to the sun and its aeration and in this fashion to limit the risks of becoming infected with botrytis rot. It is carried out from veraison (ripening of the grapes) so as to improve the microclimate, or on the eve of the harvest so as to facilitate harvesting.


The leaf stripping of the patrons or hosts via Keep an eye on your vine.
Report by Gerardo Ortiz for Canal Sur News.

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Vine ripening commences in mid-summer and is the period which determines the quality of the harvest. The grapes continually increase in size, losing much of their acidity which they possessed so far and increasingly accumulates more and more sugars. The amount of sugar determines the amount of alcohol which the wine of those grapes will subsequently possess.

This period is the most susceptible period as regards weather, as there is a high risk of diseases propitiated by rain, humidity and high temperatures of these dates. The vegetation cover will serve as a temperature regulator and will minimise the appearance of fungus (botrytis and powdery mildew). In this stage, the plant grows over 2 cm per day in its leaf mass and the clusters commenced to take shape. With a little bit of luck, one can guess what harvest one will have as regards the number of clusters.

During the ripening process of the grapes, the acids lose territory to the sugars from the frenetic activity exerted by the leaves, at the mercy of and thanks to the photosynthesis process. The leaf, with its multiple functions, is the most important organ of the vine. The leaves are responsible for transforming the raw sap into processed sap, which are the implementers of the vital functions of the plant: perspiration, respiration and photosynthesis. It is here where from the oxygen and water, the acid, sugar molecules etc. are created which will be accumulated in the grape grain which conditions its flavour.

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Cluster in the Casilla del Morcillete vineyard, Montilla.

Cluster in the Casilla del Morcillete vineyard, Montilla.

The fruit of the vine appears very green, as it is saturated with chlorophyll, and from here on the entire plant commences to work for the berry, which will gradually grow.

Unripe, green grapes contain natural organic acids: tartaric acid, malic acid and citric acid. Light, temperature and humidity will be decisive in shaping the organic acids, which subsequently can be found in the wine.

During the ripening process of the grapes, the acids lose territory to the sugars from the frenetic activity exerted by the leaves, thanks to the photosynthesis process.

The trunks of the vine also contribute to the sweetness of the grapes, as they act as sugar accumulators. Due to this reason, the old vines are able to supply more regular fruit and of a greater consistent quality.

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In late July or early August is the commencement of the “trimming or cutting” of the Verdejo grape, in the in the Casilla del Morcillete, organic vineyard in Montilla. The grape with which we elaborate our organic Verdejo Piedra Luenga. In 2005 the verdejo grape variety was planted in this vineyard and six years later commenced to elaborate wine using this grape.

During our experience with the Verdejo grape, we have learnt to find the optimal moment for harvesting: the 12º Baumé. With this alcohol content we are enhancing a good part of its fragrance and finesse, in addition to reducing sugars and the alcoholic content of the wine.

In this fashion we showcase the best primary aromas of the Verdejo grape: green apple, peach, lemon peel, herbaceous notes, aniseed aromas.

Why have we selected this grape for the Bodegas Robles young white wines? As the acidity and freshness of the Verdejo grape, in contact with the soil and climate of the Cordovan countryside, assists the grapes evolve towards more fruity flavours, resulting in a wine with lots of personality, expressing its terroir .

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n mid or late August, we commence the manual cutting of the Pedro Ximénez grapes in our organic vineyard in Villargallegos. The grapes are harvested in boxes weighing no more than 15 kilograms, so as to preserve their health. On the same day of the cutting, the grape is taken to the winery, thus avoiding premature fermentation. Once the boxes of grapes are delivered to the winery, the grapes are weighed and the degree, acidity, pH etc. controlled.

Care at this stage is crucial, in particular the temperature and time elapsing from the cutting to the reception of the grapes at the winery.

The unloading of the grapes is carried out on a “receiving hopper”, a sort of inverted pyramid in the shape of a funnel, which will deposit the grape on a “conveyor” in order to commence the process.


Report by Sensi Márquez for Canal Sur Noticias Andalucía.

For the elaboration of Pedro Ximénez wines, the grapes are harvested by hand in mid-August and then left lying in the sun in the drying facilities four to ten days. Which what is known as asoleo (to place in the sun) or sun drying of the grapes.

The grapes are harvested in boxes weighing no more than 15 kilograms, so as to preserve their health and then are spread out manually on the drying facilities, in order not to place the bunches on top of each other and in this fashion to accelerate the sun drying of the grape.

Bodegas Robles is one of the few wineries that still retain its own drying facilities, an area specially reserved (due to its geographical orientation and gentle slope) for dehydration and sundrying of the grapes. Taking special care that it is a regular and uniform drying, reason why it is controlled manually, turning over the bunches every two or three days.

The absence of humidity in the atmosphere is of vital importance, given that it can produce botrytis in the grapes and all the work would be for nought.

The extreme summer weather in the province of Cordoba, the absolute absence of humidity and the variety of grape are the reasons which make the Pedro Ximénez wine unique, which can only be elaborated in a particular denomination of origin: Montilla-Moriles.


Video included in Las lágrimas del Pedro Ximénez, (“The Tears of Pedro Ximénez) report by Alfonso Alba and Madero Cubero in Cordópolis.

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The new wine of Bodegas Robles

The new wine of Bodegas Robles

 

Each harvest, the must obtained in the winery passes to the tanks for fermentation. The result is the new, fragrant wine, which smells like fruit, yeast and breadcrumbs. It is the new wine, which is newly arrived following a journey that began four months ago.

Once obtained this new wine will go butt (cask) cellar where its breeding and ageing will continue.

The withering is the road towards the winter dormant phase of the vine. Herbaceous shoots (called vine shoots with leaves) become a woody body (called the vine shoot or branch tendril).

Between one and two months after the harvest, weather conditions cause lower activity in the plant, slowing the absorption of nutrients from the roots. The leaves cease to have an intense activity that they had in spring and summer (turning from brown or a reddish colour) and then the leaves fall off. From here on, the winter shutdown (hibernation) occurs, completing the one-year cycle of the vine.

Soon we will inform you how to participate with us in the “Keep an eye on your vine”

Todos los textos e imágenes de esta web están compartidos bajo licencia CC BY 3.0. Bodegas Robles. Todo nuestro esfuerzo ha sido en vino.

Ctra. Córdoba-Málaga, N-331, Km 47,5.  Apartado de Correos, 55.  CP: 14550 Montilla CÓRDOBA (ESPAÑA). + Google Map.
Telf: +34 957 650 063, Fax: +34 957 653 140. info@bodegasrobles.com
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