Living at the vineyard

Blog articles // 16. Nov 2017
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The vineyard in the evening sun, grapes in the morning dew...while enjoying a glass of wine, we have a definite image before us. As idyllic and romantic as this image may be, working at a vineyard is not. Because there’s a whole lot of work to be done before the wine reaches the glass!

Wein am Neusiedlersee © Stefanie Thüringer

January, February

For a winemaker, the year starts with trimming the vines. This is of particular importance as it has a large impact on the later yield and its quality. Dry, older wood is removed and the vine is rejuvenated. The cuttings from the vines are removed from the vineyard and burned, or made into chips using machines and eventually worked into the soil.

March

In March, the vineyard is brought into order by carrying out minor repairs on the trellises. For instance, rotten wooden posts are replaced, or wires are tightened or renewed. Then the vines are bound to the wires.

April, May

Budding takes place at the end of April to the beginning of May. The buds open and the green shoots poke out. Frost at night (especially late frosts) can still severely affect the shoots during this time. Superfluous shoots are removed during May, meaning that the vines are once again adjusted.

June

At the start of June, the grapevines begin to flower. The time that this happens allows you to roughly predict when the harvest will take place. After flowering, there is still some work to be done: the young shoots, now up to 40 cm in length, are bound onto the wiring, so that they may become affixed there and can no longer be broken off by the wind. At the end of June, after flowering, the berries are about as large as a shot grain.

July

Superfluous side shoots are trimmed away between the end of June and the start of July. At the start of July, the berries are already the size of a pea, and the grapes hang on the vines. When the shoots reach a length of about a metre, they are cut shorter, usually with a machine. A thick wall of leaves forms between the vines, especially between July and August.

Weingarten im Juli © Stefanie Thüringer

End of July – August

In order to reduce the yield and ensure optimal quality, the grapes are thinned out between mid-July and August. Around the middle of August, the grapes have reached their full size. For red wine in particular, leaves are removed from the grape area from mid-August onwards, to that the grapes can develop a nice colour. The grapes then soften in late August, early September. From this time on, the weather conditions have a particularly decisive influence on the quality of the grapes and the wine they will be used to make.
Weingarten im Sommer © Stefanie Thüringer

September, October

Depending on the region, location, type of vine, weather conditions and maturity of the grapes, the grape harvest can begin from mid-September onwards. The grapes are then harvested according to their type, and brought to the wine press for processing. The important thing here is to only process fully ripe and healthy grapes. In most cases, the grapes are picked the traditional way by hand, as damaged or unripe grapes can be discarded straight away.