PRODUCING QUANTITY WHILE PRESERVING QUALITY: ROLE OF FOLIAGE MANAGEMENT (PART 1)
Stefano PONI Opening presentation of the 4th Enoforum SIVE, 12th-23d of March 2005
The relation between the quantity of grapes produced per vine (or per hectare) and the quality of the product obtained has always been the main focus in viticulture. The trend of the last ten years pushing for the production of always better quality wines has strengthened the fundamental concept of French viticulture according to which “quality” can only be achieved if the production per vine remains below a “critical threshold” situated around 1.5 to 2 kg of grapes per vine (Champagnol 1989).
Incidentally, this concept has certainly contributed to another trend also found in numerous Italian viticultural areas, which pushes for improved vine spacing according to an irrefutably logical assessment: more plants per hectare = less production per plant = improved quality.
Finally, it should be added that there is an almost parallel consequence to this trend: the increasingly frequent implementation of manual cluster thinnings in order to “decrease” the production level by maintaining it within the limits previously mentioned.
However, the “quality” of the product is only one of the factors, which participate in the overall profitability of a vineyard. For example, on plains, on foothills or on fertile hills, the “capacity” to produce depends on a fragile balance between the quality (which should always be considered), the yield and the management costs.
Today, a significant part of the viticultural world is asking certain questions: What is the correlation between yield per vine and quality? To what degree can the production in the vineyards be “pushed” while respecting the organoleptic parameters facilitating the marketing and allowing to preserve the “brand image” of a company?
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Published on 07/23/2006
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