Bortolomiol’s mission is to produce fine-quality wines. All this starts by looking after territory and vineyards carefully and responsibly. Applying the most recent wine-making methods and integrated vine protection are crucial aspects for Bortolomiol; enabling the company to achieve its objectives in an environment-friendly way and protect consumers.
Applying the Green Mark Management Protocol for all growers bringing their grapes to the company has become paramount for Bortolomiol production.
Well ahead of the times – ever since 2011 – this internal protocol has been applied responsibly. With a series of technical indications to be followed by grape suppliers, it aims to upgrade product quality whilst managing vineyards in a way that has the lowest environmental impact and is increasingly more eco-sustainable.
Safeguarding the quality of grapes without harming the environment and human health is part of a strong social responsibility tradition that has always made the Bortolomiol family stand out and which it shares with its grape-growers.
Green Mark protocol measures are targeted at a number of operations, at particular times of the year.
As soon as harvesting is over, vines that have died from wood diseases are removed. The vine residue is carried out of the vineyard and burned. Pruning is never done before leaves drop, and an attempt is always made to maintain an average load of around 55,000 buds/hectare. Vine training systems are espalier with arched pruning, more specifically: double Guyot or sylvoz. Pruning residues are ground on site to recover organic substances and nutritive elements; except for vineyards that cannot be accessed by machines.
Replacing failed crops
They maintain the historical uneven-aged vineyard feature by replacing dead vines year after year. The new vine shoots should, if possible, be those obtained through mass selection of the old ones on site (over 50 years old) so as to ensure the vineyard’s high genetic variability.
As regards fertilization, the only substances used are potassium and phosphorus, based on soil requirements. Maximum doses per hectare cannot exceed those indicated by the company. Any use of manure, according to established procedures and schedules, depends on vineyard requirements and, in any case, this is spread on the rows at the end of winter. In hilly areas, manure is replaced by liquid manure, spread over the entire vineyard in spring.
In spring and throughout the summer, rows are managed by cutting the grass covering, then left on site to favour reintegration of organic substances. The areas below the rows are weeded either after the grape harvest or before 30 March of each year. In particular, the area treated must not exceed 20% of the entire surface. For new installations, at the end of the first year the turf is sown using types useful for the management of the row itself and to achieve a vegetative, productive balance. The entire soil surface is worked in the first year. For difficult areas or with steep slopes, to prevent erosion, this method is not used and the grass is sown immediately after planting the vine shoots.
Fertilization with nitrogen is used, whenever necessary, in spring or after flowering. Quantities must not exceed 50 units/ha on hilly land and 70/ha on the plain. Plant health care treatments offset any lack of microelements such as Boron, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and possible Potassium.
Suckering is performed when an advanced germination stage has been reached. Afterwards, in early flowering, depending on how the season has progressed, shoots are tied and trellised for the first time using wires. After flowering, a second tying operation takes place, positioning the shoots vertically. Green pruning is done between the end of June and early July, with grapes no bigger than a pepper grain.
Plant health care treatments
Plant health care operations are performed using integrated pest management criteria, with both synthetic substances and agronomic, organic means, following adversity cycles and weather conditions carefully. Integrated pest control exploits biological control principles to the highest degree. It requires monitoring the dynamics of soil pests and infestation patterns so as to intervene only when thresholds have been exceeded. The use of plant health care products is keyed to reducing the quantity of chemical products released into the environment, reducing to the utmost any health risks for consumers and softening the impact on auxiliary organisms (predators, parasitoids, pollinators, etc.). The choice of active ingredients falls on products with a broad activity spectrum or high selectivity, low persistence and low risk of inducing resistance phenomena, quite apart from their nature. Acceptable active ingredients are those indicated by EC regulation 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and Council dated 21 October 2009 relating to placing plant protection products on the market. Measures do however comply with provisions in the integrated production regulation passed by the Veneto Region listing the main active ingredients divided by adversities. Distribution of plant protection products strictly complies with provisions in – Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and Council dated 21 October 2009 establishing a community action framework for sustainable use of pesticides.
The company aims to limit production to 13500 kg/Ha in the hilly areas and 18000 kg/ha on the plain. Any excess production is regulated in summer during the veraison stage by thinning clusters. All production procedures do in fact comply with the DOCG “Conegliano Valdobbiadene” and “DOC Prosecco” guidelines.
The date of harvest is decided supported by a number of sampling operations performed during the last ripening stages. The grapes are picked manually according to schedules set in advance. Immediately after harvest, the grapes are brought in for pressing as quickly as possible. Manual picking means any bunches which are not perfectly ripe or with any plant protection problem can be left in the field. The carts must contain a grape quantity that reduces any chance of single grapes breaking during loading and transport to the wine-making cellar to a minimum.
The farming practices that make up the production protocol, the details of which are summed up briefly in the following table, may undergo changes as technical knowledge is acquired that enables further improvements in management. However, the company’s primary goal, namely the quality of the end product, will remain the same. The application of the production protocol by grape growers will be coordinated by the company’s own technical assistance service.