15th April 2020

Despite the problems associated with CV19, our workers on agricultural contracts are able to continue their work in Umbria, Italy whilst maintaining the required safe distancing and using PPE. Spring is a very busy time in the vineyards of the Carmine Estate and the management of the vines requires promptness and accuracy.

The pruning has now been finished and bud burst has begun. This is when the vines, which have been dormant through the winter, first begin to produce new shoots. During the bud burst phase, the vines are quite susceptible to frost damage. Although there were severe frosts just prior to bud burst with ice visible on the plants early in the morning, temperatures are now rising and we are hopeful this won’t be a problem this year, as it was during the spring of April 2017. The vines draw on the energy they have stored deep within their trunks and roots through the winter to push out the first green leaves of a new growth cycle.

This period is also important as it is when our vineyard workers will make adjustments to the tension of the trellis system of the wires and reposition or replace any posts where necessary. We will also mulch all the canes from pruning and bind the untied trunks and fruiting canes before starting the first of our organic sprays for the season to protect the vines and their new growth from disease. Luciano will also start working with our inter-row cultivator through the unworked rows of the productive vineyards and also mulch the alternate rows sown with fava beans. This has a dual purpose of increasing nitrogen into the soil as well as to reduce the risk of erosion in the vineyards in case of heavy rains.

Our spring has been very dry so far and we desperately need some rain, particularly for our recently planted new vineyard in front of our Vineria as we want to avoid having to manually water the 2600 new vines. So far, we have only had 125mls of rain over 14 days in 2020 to date and the entire farm would benefit from a good drenching, not to mention the gardens of the properties on the farm. Fortunately, our dam is almost full on account of the heavy rains in November and December last year and this water will be an important resource for the farm in 2020.

At present, our lockdown will continue until May 3rd and we hope that Umbria, as one of the least hit regions in Italy, will be one of the first to have restrictions eased. We look forward to some degree of normality returning to our lives and welcoming people back to our beautiful valley but we appreciate it will take time.