February 8th, 2022 | Green Issues
At this time of year the hillsides around our region are shrouded in a blue/grey mist as growers burn their vine cuttings on small bonfires. This is not unique to Rias Baixas, but is actually quite a common site in vineyards around the world. (I often think that this is a bit of a waste as vine cuttings make an excellent fuel to throw on the top of the barbecue coals as you grill your local fish. Having said that, barbecue season is, unfortunately, still a couple of months away for most of us).
There is however, another way to dispose of our cuttings, but this actually depends on how ‘healthy’ they are. Of course, cuttings are actually dead wood, but the question is, is this wood infected or diseased in any way. If there is any evidence of disease, then the only option is to burn. If, on the other hand, they are healthy, then they can simply be turned into mulch and spread back onto the soil as natural organic material. The last month or so of very dry, sunny weather has certainly helped to keep our cuttings dry and disease free, and so this year we are employing the ‘mulching option’.
Today’s picture shows the same vineyard from one day to the next. The first picture shows the ground spread with vine cuttings, and in the second they have virtually disappeared, as they have be ground down and spread thinly on the soil. Almost like magic, but in this case, organic magic!