Vine pruning in the Cavanera Etnea estate and in the other contrada of Etna
Firriato: vine pruning in the Cavanera Etnea estate
and in the other contrada of Etna
Etna is a natural oenological laboratory dedicated to excellence that always needs care and attention to extract the best from its terroir. Firriato was one of the first maisons to land on the slopes of the Volcano to open up its own project of Authentic Terroir with a mountain viticulture able to reveal the richness and complexity of this unique context in the world. Over these year s the technical staff has been working on exposures and different microclimates, on centenary and young plants that have made our winery one of the most authoritative signatures for what concerns the ethnical wine productions. However,recentely our heroes have carefully performed one of the most important operations during the vegetative rest of the vine: pruning.
The house on the Volcano
In Cavanera Etnea, in the Verzella contrada we use the single or double spurred cordon system. Here we vinegrow some of the most typical vines of volcanic viticulture, such as Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, the native white Catarratto and Carricante. For all these varieties, the pruning technique is the same: both for those that will become red and still white, and for the classic method of the volcano. Plants are pruned to a frank bud, plus the crown gem. This is the short pruning considered mandatory because of the basal fertility of the crown buds is very high.
Prefillossera, a precious vineyard
Precious. This is the most suitable adjective to define the pre-phylloxera vineyard that extends along the profile of a dried lava flow in the vineyard of the wonders of the Cavanera Etnea estate. When, starting from 1863, the phyllosera spread throughout the European continent, the devastations were tracked on a large scale even among the Sicilian vineyards; yet, in some specimens they have survived like the sculptures of nature present in our vineyard in Cavanera, which have not stopped producing. The bunches of Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio, thus, bloom from plants with more than a century and a half of age, cultivated with a sapling training system and also regulated by a short pruning.
Montedolce, the future of Firriato on Etna
On the north-eastern slope of the volcano, in the Montedolce contrada, we have recently planted planted the grafted cuttings that will make up a new vineyard whose plants, once grown, will give life to the bunches of white Carricante. To give them shape and predict both quantitative and qualitative development, we use the training pruning technique, which will create not only large and vigorous buds, but able to quickly reach the first thread on tie the final cord.
San Teodoro and the importance of thermal excursion
In the San Teodoro vineyard, at 580 meters above sea level, the two Nerelli Mascalese and Cappuccio are bred. The plants benefit from the peculiarities of the mixed transport terrain, fruit of the union between the soils brought back from the Alcantara river and the sand descending to the valley from the highest areas of the volcano. The microclimate, as in the rest of the valley, is characterized by important phenomena of thermal excursion between day and night, which allow the soils to always remain fresh and fertile. Also in this vineyard a breeding pruning is applied.
Sant’Antonio, the strength of stone
While sharing the same altitude as San Teodoro (580 m s.l.m.m) and being affected by it, an important day – night thermal excursion, the vineyard of the Sant’Antonio contrada presents remarkable differences in terms of the composition of the land. Soils comes from colluvial origin, that is born from the debris that, due to the force of gravity, have accumulated on the slopes of the volcano, with a consequent presence of stones and stones of basaltic nature that makes them rich skeleton. Also in this case, as these are young plants, the pruning system chosen by the districts of Montedolce and Sant’Antonio, that is, of breeding or training.
Pettino Ciarelli, hymn to Nerello Mascalese
The vineyard of Pettino Ciarelli, located at 750m. S.l.m., is entirely dedicated to Nerello Mascalaese, with a sapling training system and a spond of frank gems. The soils are of volcanic matrix, with a lot of skeleton and little earth. The vine yard has an excellent exposure to the winds, in particular to the north wind from the north which, during the harvest period, between late September and early October, allows for perfectly dry bunches of grapes.