After the cold wave that we just went through, it is a good time to sum up on this very important season: the winter.
Concerning the work in the cellar, it slows down after harvest.
This is when the filtration of the new wines starts. First the white and rosé wines and then the red wines; because the wines are “clean” early we avoid all risks of getting unwanted tastes that is usually due to the extended contact with the lees. This allows to let the wines rest during winter, the cold temperature will stabilize them, it means that the tartaric acid, which is naturally in the wine, will solidify and precipitate; in this way it will not happen in the bottle later.
This period is also when we make the blends; we taste each tank and prepare the future blends by selecting the best tanks for every different cuvee.
On the vineyard side the winter season is very important. The cold temperature will allow the plant sap to go down to the roots and start the “sleeping cycle”. During this phase the vine will rest with its reserves made during the previous season.
If, like this year, the cold temperatures arrive late, there is a risk that the vine does not start its sleeping cycle and worse, starts a new growing cycle. For that it will grab into its reserves, there is a risk that it uses a lot and won’t have enough to go through winter when the cold temperature will arrive. Luckily this does not happen often, and this year was on the limit, the cold temperatures arrived just on time.
During the sleeping cycle we prune the vines. We cut the shoots of the previous season to keep only 12 buds (6 spurs (shortened shoot) x 2 buds), these buds will open in spring and will develop into new shoots. This step is essential; this is when the next harvest is being decided.