Managing a vineyard means taking care of it by encompassing practices that are aimed at helping the vineyard yield more while also maintaining its resources. This means employing industry best practices to help your crop mature at the right time while maintaining grape quality so that the wines can come out as they were intended. Although not all vineyards are the same, some of the best practices have only to be adjusted to fit temporal variations such as climate and land. Here are some tips on how to manage and keep up a vineyard.
This means taking care of biological variability and diversity in a vineyard. For a vineyard to be successful, it must have a successful integration of flora and fauna. An established system means having some living things coexisting together and the environment. Without a proper functional ecosystem, one species is bound to dominate which will bring downfall to the whole vineyard.
Especially in areas with fluctuating weather conditions, having good biodiversity will mean that when one species hibernates, another step to continue the work. This can also be said of cover crops grown in between rows for mulching purposes and maintaining soil biodiversity.
This is the management of the fruit, leaves and shoot from winter pruning to harvesting time. These practices are aimed at optimizing fruit quality, grapevine yield, improving pest control, disease eradication and other vineyard activities. Vines with excessive canopies are referred to as “out of balance,” and as such experience lower yield, reduced fruit development and have higher chances of disease. These practices include pruning, irrigation management, branch and shoot thinning, shoot positioning and leaf removal. Some of the more permanent solutions to canopy management include using rootstocks, the trellis system, and row spacing.
The soil is a critical part of any farming whatsoever. Soil health means the soil’s continued capacity to function as a part of the ecosystem supporting plants animals and humans. In our context, it refers to the soil’s fitness to accommodate healthy crop growth without falling into soil degradation. As such, the soil’s biological, physical and chemical properties must be analyzed and constantly improved. If a certain area of soil health is found wanting, then corrective measures must be undertaken to ensure that the soil not only continues to be of top quality but also to ensure that it stays useful for the longest time possible.
Soil management will involve proper cultivation to ensure that soil remains soft and not compact, adequate soil aeration and biodiversity caused by microorganisms in the soil and also activities like mulching which helps soil integrity by maintaining moisture on the hottest of days.
Post-harvest care for vineyards involves topping up vine carbohydrates, monitoring the vineyard for nutrients and water requirements and finally minimizing the presence of pests in the vineyard to reduce pressure in the next season. Taking proper care of a vineyard post-harvest is important because it helps the vineyard prepare for the next season. By properly irrigating the vineyard, the leaves stay hydrated which means photosynthesis will be occurring which will mean more food for the grapevines. Water also helps move fertilizers down into the soil where the roots can access it easily and efficiently.
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While there are many factors the grower cannot influence such as weather patterns, weather variations, soils, vine vigor, topography, and fruit positions, proper management will mean reducing extenuating factors to produce the best quality of grapes. With proper management, yields increase, expenses reduce and overall product quality increases throughout the ecosystem.