With our online edition (in the form of a wine-newspaper) “The WinePress”, we would like to provide insights into our working schedule and to illustrate the wine year by our working steps and operational processes.
During opening a bottle of wine, our thoughts often roam wonderful vineyards, the sight of beautiful wooden barrels and, particularly, a very specific relaxation and calmness.
However, to achieve these relaxation and calmness, a lot of laborious work needs to be done until wine is going to be filled up into bottles. It is laborious work and also a lot of manual work. There are a lot of steps in the vineyard, as well as in the wine cellar, that need to be done to achieve an exquisite drop of wine. Overstated, maybe, for a few people this fact can be “recognised by the taste”. However, most of the people remain hidden from the insights into the annual process of a winegrower or from the insights into the origination process of wine.
With the edition of our online magazine “The WinePress”, in 2019 we offer relevant insights into our working year. The wine year, visualised by the four seasons of viniculture, illustrated and brought to life by our “wine sheep”:
Edition 1/2019, The vineyard in winter, online now
Edition 2/2019, The vineyard in spring, online as of March 2019
Edition 3/2019, The vineyard in summer, online as of June 2019
Edition 4/2019, The vineyard in autumn, online as of September 2019
The vineyard in winter
Even in winter, there is a lot of laborious work that needs to be done in the vineyards. In general, a wonderful work. On sunny days you can absorb a lot of solar power and fresh air, outdoors.
During winter season our vines have retreated into hibernation due to the cold temperatures – at that time our vineyard staff handle extensive manual work, usually, for the body difficult climatic conditions. Therefore, in the morning and in the afternoon the cold winter temperatures, as well as the recurring snowfall, are often a very frosty challenge for our vineyard staff.
Pruning – “grapevine pruning”, “(vine) cutting”
During the vegetative rest, which continues until sprouting in spring, the annual pruning of the vines is carried out.
Pruning is considered as a very important task for a winemaker and it is also an essential condition for the successful management and cultivation of a vineyard. Further explained, it is an essential condition for the growth of the vines, for the quality of the grapes, for the handling in the cultivation and for the harvest.
This first regulation of the harvest yield is very important. If too many settings of the grapes remain on the vine, the harvest yield increases, but the quality is going to be reduced, because the basic potential of the vine needs to be distributed among too many grapes. Therefore, the annual pruning is the first most important step in the wine year, regarding quality assurance.
Pruning – “the annual pruning of the one-year old and partly of the tow-year old wood” – this is used to create and to maintain an optimal form of growth of the vines and, consequently, to get an optimal division of the fruit canes (shoots, sprouts). The kind and method of cutting have a very great impact on the plant growth afterwards. The cutting method also depends on the soil condition, on the climate, on further local factors and, above all, on the winegrower’s philosophy. In our winery the pruning is done exclusively by hand. This is very complex and laborious.
Radical cuts on the old wood of the vines cause serious consequences and serious disadvantages. Therefore, we pay greatest attention to a very soft and gentle grapevine pruning, so that the vines remain unhurt. The method of the soft and gentle pruning bases on old experiences of pruning. This method supports the health and a long lifetime of a vine. This method means to prune only the young wood and to set precised cuts carefully. By precised cutting and by the selection of the fruit canes (sprouts), an attempt is made to keep the vines unhurt, so that the circulation of the plant sap is not interrupted.
If possible, no large cuts should be made. There should be made only small cuts and only on the young, one to two years old wood, to minimize the impact on the circulation-system of the plant sap of the vines. (By removing the one to two years old shoots, the young, freshly cutted shoots are always left at the base of the previous year’s fruit shoots, so that the new fruit shoots already have connection to the circulation of the plant sap of the vines).
This ensures the prevention of fungal disease, sustainable viticulture based on resistant vines, constant harvest yields and a high wine quality. A normal aging process of the vines is effected by this special method of pruning as well as by the kind of trim. The vitality of the vines increases, less vines die and this improves the homogeneity of a vineyard.
>>> By the method of a soft and gentle grapevine pruning the plants stay mostly uninjured, the sap flow and the wooden parts are not dehydrated, the risk of fungal disease is going to be reduced.
>>> The method of a soft and gentle grapevine pruning is an important step for an ecological sustainability. Careful pruning insures healthy vines, a good growth and a long lifespan of the vines.
Tying down the fruit canes (rods, shoots)
To get an ideal, loose distribution of the grapes, the fruit rods are going to be tied down.
Snow protects the vines against icy winter temperatures. It is a natural protection and keeps the vines in their hibernation.
There is also no winter rest in the wine cellar.
The wooden barrels must be kept full up to the bung hole.
All wooden barrels evaporate a certain percentage of liquid. To compensate this natural loss, the barrels are going to be filled up to the bung hole with an equivalent wine. This technique keeps and ensures the high quality of the wine inside.
“Bung hole” is the naming of the opening on the top of the barrel. It is the highest point of the barrel. If the wine reaches this opening, this is called “full up to the bung hole”. Under this condition, the contact area between the wine and the air above is the smallest possible one in the barrel. Thereby the risk of undesirable oxidation with atmospheric oxygen gets reduced.
Preparation for the bottling
Our STK Regional Wines are going to be separated from the yeast and bottling is going to be prepared for those wines.