The season moves on – tying the vines with willow
So the spring has arrived (maybe). In fact very little chance that during the first week in March, the winter finally releases us from its icy grip BUT it does definitely feel like a spring day outside today with birds singing and insects buzzing around in the sun.
The knowledgeable elder members of this community shake their heads and all talk of doom and gloom and more freezing days to come but still, after the biting cold of February it certainly does feel nice to be outside in the sun again.
The sound of tractors moving around the hills and the occasional buzz of a chainsaw means that people have started working out in the woods, fields and vineyards once again. In fact this is the time of year for pruning and tying back the vines and preparing the ground for the coming season.
Traditionally the vines are tied back with willow which has been soaked before hand to keep it supple but it is a very labour intensive job which has to be done with patience and requires some skill to not break the willow as it bends round the vines.
Many people these days have instead gone over to using concrete posts at the end of the lines of vines from which wire is stretched under tension and using plastic ties to attached the vines.
It is far simpler to set up but loses out to the bio degradable willows which simply drop off when the vines swell too much in their grip, something the plastic ties are incapable of doing. They have to be cut off if they constrict the vines too much.
What is needed on this job is time … lots of it. The world moves at a slower pace out in the vineyards around Barga.
Lets hope it stays that way at least while there are still people with the will and skill to carry on with the old methods.
Wine making in area is after all, not really a commercial venture but an act of faith and love.