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Better shading of grapes and workers

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More intense sunlight and labour shortages are leading to a comeback of the pergola form of vine training. The new Italian Master of Wine Andrea Lonardi MW has written his research paper on the differences between pergola training and the usual trellis training in Valpolicella, where pergola is traditionally used. Lonardi works for the Bertani winery there. He reports that wineries in Galicia, Spain, as well as in Argentina are converting to this form of training and even in Napa Valley its introduction is being considered.

The advantages are better shade for the grapes, slower ripening and less work. Firstly, no foliage work such as removing leaves and positioning shoots has to be done during the growing season, and secondly, the slower ripening of the grapes means lower peaks in labour demand. The shade also creates better working conditions for the workers. "Wine production is a business with high peaks in labour demand and the pergola brings more stability. When harvesting is done by hand, there is no reason to use trellis training. Wineries need to develop a model that fits their labour force and develop a system so that people have good working conditions," he told industry magazine drinksbusiness.

Masi, another major producer of Amarone and Valpolicella in the region, switched back to the traditional system in 2012 because the grapes with the pergola form significantly fewer tannins and do not show over-ripeness. Grapes from a pergola are up to 20 °C cooler in midsummer than those from a trellis system. On the other hand, the colour remains more stable and the grapes do not get sunburnt. Lonardi points out that wines from pergola vines have a lighter style: "If you want concentrated wines, pergola is not the right choice.

(al / source: drinksbusiness)

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