During the production of quality wines, the wine grower and winemaker are constantly at the vines, grapes and later also on the wines side, whether it be during the period for pruning, the harvest, fermentation process, aging or the blending of the wine.
These steps are repeated with commitment and passion year after year. It is important to be able to relate to how both the earth’s and the climate’s factors affect the wine. Every year, in order to produce high quality craft wines, every step in the process is designed with respect for the earth, the vines and the wine. Below we want to give you an overview of pictures showing the work in the vineyard and the winery – from the field to the table.
Pruning – from December to March
The pruning of the vines is done by hand between December and March. This is done to ensure the vine’s recovery and future production, an important step that lays the foundation for the harvest. We strive to get four sprouts from the branches of the previous year and finally eight grape bunches on each vine.
Preparing the soil
To prepare the soil between the rows, we plow it to ensure that the vegetation between the rows is minimized. We use organic fertilizer and winter pruning to improve the vigor of the grapes. All the work that is done in the vineyard can be seen as a preliminary work to assure durable vines less sensitive to diseases. We review each vine 10 times a year.
During the season, the sun is the main reason the grapes mature. On the other hand, too much heat and sun is harmful to the grapes. On very hot vintages, the foliage is kept around the grapes to minimize the risk of the grapes being burned. Every year we hope that the weather gods are on our side and spare us from rain and hail. Hail can damage both the foliage and the grapes, reducing the production. A lot of rain can make the grapes swollen and watery.
Plowing the vineyard is necessary and done continuously. This contributes to maximize the vegetation of the vines. The ambition is to air and tear off the remaining roots formed between the rows as they can affect the vines in a negative way.
The vine blooms in May to June. From the blooming we count 100 days to harvest. The vine is self-pollinating so during this period we wish for wind and no heavy rains.
Véraison is the magical moment when the grapes begin to change color and mature. When the grapes change color, it means about 50 days to go until harvest. This usually happens in late July or beginning of August.
Sangiovese (the picture above) is the main grape variety on Terreno. In order to produce a Chianti Classico wine, it must contain at least 80% of Sangiovese. Besides Sangiovese we grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Trebbiano, Malvasia, Merlot, Pinó Nero, Canaiolo and Petit Manseng and Rousanne.
What determines the quality of the harvested grape bunches is all the work done in the vineyard between April and September. Qualified workers are needed and work is done in different stages. First, foliage and twigs are removed to get optimal sun exposure but also to give the grapes the right amount of airflow. Thereafter, a green harvest is done where some of the immature grape bunches are removed from the vine in order to make it focus on the best grapes.
Freshly picked grapes
Carefully selected bunches of grapes are harvested by hand when they reach full maturity, and they are placed in plastic trays holding 20-25 kilograms. Harvest is done by hand to minimize the risk of oxidation and loss of color in the grapes. It is important that all the handling of the grapes is gentle.
When the grape bunches arrive to the winery, we use picking tables with a rotating belt where it is easy to distinguish and remove bad bunches, leaves and other things that must not be brought into the winery. Here it is important to be extra attentive and focused.
The pressing is done mainly in traditional basket presses and partly in a horizontal press. The basket press is the most gentle when it comes to producing quality wines. The pressure is more gentle than during other pressing methods. The pressing takes about 1-2 hours.
Drying and hanging of the grapes
When we make our Vinsanto, the harvested grape bunches are hung up to dry. They hang for about a 100 days and then pressed as they have turned into raisins. This gives a sweet dessert wine that is aged in small chestnut barrels for at least five years before bottling.
After the pressing, the must is pumped into temperature-controlled steel tanks. For some wines the fermentation takes place in open vessels and oak barrels. The must ferments with natural wine yeast for 25-30 days, until all sugar is converted into alcohol. The must is in contact with the grapes skins during selected parts of the process depending on what wine that is made. From the skins the wine receive color, fragrance and taste as well as tannins.
Marking of the barrels
When the wine has been given a place for aging – it can be a cement tank, an oak barrel or one of the larger Italian oak barrels ‘botti’ – we note the day when it was placed there and the name of the wine.
Our wines are aged partly on large Slavonic oak barrels, French 225-liter oak barrels and traditional cement tanks. The wines are aged from 12-24 months on the oak barrels depending on which wine is made. The aging in the barrel helps soften the tannins and to make the wine more full bodied. The wine’s final characteristics also depend on the size of the barrel it is aging in. Our table wines are only aging on steel tanks to maintain the primary fruit aromas.
Fragrance and taste
In order to be able to follow the wine’s development, it is regularly tasted during all parts of the production. This is important because there must be a balance and a structure in the wine but we also need to ensure that the wine is doing well.
An exciting step in the winemaking process. Here, we try to find the synergy between the different grape varieties that later will be blended together into a Chianti Classico. It is important to maintain a balance between the vintages in both structure and aromatic expression. Like a painter with his palette of colors.
We carry out all the steps in the winemaking ourselves – from the planting of vines to the bottling of the finished wine. The bottling is done when the wine has aged long enough in barrels or tanks and we believe that it is the optimal time for bottling that specific wine. When the bottling is complete, some of our wines are stored for another period of time before released on the market.
The labeling takes place when the wine is ready for sale. We hand-label limited editions and use an automatic labeling machine for the larger productions.
Vino e Cibo = Wine and Food
Wine should be enjoyed together with good food and in good company.
For further information about our organic winemaking please have a look at our Organic Wine Certificate.