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Wine Diary

Busy before budding

April 6, 2023

Before budding sets in, a lot of work has to be accomplished in the vineyards. We have almost finished binding (cf. wine dairy entry, 30th of March) and are still restoring old terrasse stonewalls while part of the crew has already started hewing and clearing the space around the stems. The driving lanes, however, shall remain green covered.

Predators and Pheromones

It is also time to hang little containers onto the wire frames that are filled with pheromones. These sexual attractants of the female grape berry moth will confuse the males and prevent them from finding their mates. Thus, we succeed in minimising the reproduction of this vermin in an environmentally friendly way. Here, a well concerted cooperation of as many fellow growers as possible is requested to effectively protect a vast contiguous vineyard block.

At the same time, around the stems, we have wrapped felt strips housing predator mites in hibernation and their larvae. Hunting their prey, they will help us reducing the damage of many harmful mites.

Vine Surgery

One complex fungal disease to fight is Esca: it forces its way from warmer regions supported by climate warming. In its slower version, the vines may suffer many years before finally dying. Yet, by removing affected parts with little saws (reminding us of a dentist’s work, removing tooth decay) there are good chances to heal the vine. Later, the plant should build its own protection by its inherent wound closure capacity and form new bark. Our experience so far shows that after the intervention, up to 80-90% of the “patients” may fully recover. Especially in the most valuable old vineyards such as the Zöbinger Heiligenstein this method makes great sense.

A Welcome Delay

Cool and dry weather in spring has further delayed bud break, and this comes in very handy! A current polar flow is bringing along a series of frosty nights to the Danube region with night temperatures under -5°C threatening orchards all over the country. At present, for our vineyards we can give the ‘all clear,’ as most buds still hide in their ‘cocoons.’ Only if the young shoots are out, there will be real danger, as they are fragrantly structured and contain a lot of humidity.

So far so good! Our Easter Bunnies may come filling our baskets but tell them to keep their socks on!