Most of our work force in the vineyards is still devoted to pruning. It is a hard and long period for our workers, but also has its gratifying moments. Moving slowly in a natural environment we often take home beautiful impressions. We work following the principles of “gentle pruning”.
We try to avoid bigger wounds to the vines whenever possible: harming the old wood of the healthy plant creates dead spaces which work like portals for fungus and other diseases. We aim for vines with longevity.
Our most ancient vineyards today are about 90 years old, yet we would like them to reach an age of 100, 120 eventually 150 years! Wine from old vineyards is especially balanced and full of character. Sometimes, despite all care, some of those vines will get sick nevertheless. For instance, one complex fungal disease is Esca: it forces its way from the warmer regions facilitated by climate warming. In its slower version, the vines may suffer many years before finally dying. Yet, by removing affected parts we may heal the vine. We work a bit like a dentist, who has to remove tooth decay with his dreaded drill. We remove all damaged parts of the stem with the help of little saws. Only the healthy wood remains, and in springtime the plant will build its own protection, by its inherent wound closure capacity, and form new bark. Our experience so far has shown that after the intervention up to 90% of the “patients” may fully recover. Especially in the most valuable vineyards such as the Zöbinger Heiligenstein, time and expenses seem justified.