Agricultural Practices

The Grape Harvesting is over and Sowing has begun

The Grape Harvesting is over and Sowing has begun

Now the grape harvesting is over, it is time to define strategies for the new farming year. It is fundamental to examine the grapes each plot produced for the year in terms of both quality and quantity so that we can make the right decisions in order to boost quality in the forthcoming growing cycle.

Sowing the inter-row plant cover (swarding) of our vine plots is one of the key activities in the Herdade do Esporão’s sustainability plan. Its main goals are:
– Better soil conservation;
– Decreased erosion;
– Increased biodiversity of our ecosystems;
– Increased content of organic material;
– Exclusion of the use of chemical fertilisers;
– Increased predatory fauna, which will play a fundamental role in naturally limiting vineyard pests.
Inter-row swarding consists of sowing plant cover and allowing it to develop temporarily or permanently, fully or partly on the surface of the vineyard. Vineyard swarding can be permanent or temporary, sown with a single or several species of plant, or can be natural, making use of the existing flora.
sementeiras
When the sowing/sward plan is drawn up, several factors are taken into consideration, including the age of the vines, the soil’s fertility (soil analyses) and respective fertilisation needs, the quality of the grapes obtained, the intended production quality, the strength of the vine and the occurrence of pests and diseases in the previous year.

Once these parameters have been examined, a sowing plan is drawn up based on a strategy defined for each of the plots in our vineyard. Six types of intervention have been outlined accordingly (seeding/sward management):

  1. 50% mixture of annual clover + 50% dried legumes;
  2. 50% mixture of annual clover + 50% spontaneous vegetation;
  3. 100% legumes;
  4. 50% fescue + 50% dried legumes;
  5. 100% spontaneous vegetation;
  6. 50% red clover + 50% dried legumes.

sementeiras
Temporary Sward (Dried legumes)
Used for vines up to 3 years old. Objective is to carry out green nitrogen fertilisation, which consists of incorporating the legumes sown in the inter-rows into the soil so as to improve the soil structure, provide the nitrogen the plant needs to develop naturally, promote the settling of predatory fauna against plagues (ladybirds, lacewings), and reduce soil erosion.
joaninhas
Permanent Sward (Clover Mix)
Used for vines in full production, where the objectives are to improve soil structure, supply the nitrogen the plant needs to develop naturally, reduce soil erosion, facilitate the circulation of machinery and increase ecosystem biodiversity.
mistura trevos
Permanent Sward (Fescue)
Used for vines that are highly susceptible to yellow mite attack. Its objectives are to promote the settling of predatory fauna (lacewings, phytoseiidae), reduce soil erosion and facilitate the circulation of machinery.
plantar sementeiras
Permanent Spontaneous Sward
Used for vines in full production, where the objectives are to preserve spontaneous vegetation focusing on the vine ecosystem (mixture of grasses and legumes), reduce soil erosion, facilitate the circulation of machinery and increase the biodiversity of the ecosystems.

All these strategies are fundamental in increasing our soils and reducing the rate of plagues. In the future, this will allow us to increase the quality of the grapes naturally, and therefore boost the quality of our wines.

sementeiras rui
Nature

Galileo’s Grapes and The Solar Path

The energy that transforms our fruits, has begun to change our day to day life.

Agricultural Practices

Pruning

Learn more about one of the most important tasks in the production cycle of our wines and olive oils