|Century-old vineyard in Basilicata (southern Italy)|
Modern and large-scale viticulture distances the man from the plant. The plant is marked by severe and repeated cuts to maintain a predominately hedge-like shape, and this leads to the early decline of the plant.
Historically, the vineyards had a much freer form with limited containment measures both in expanded forms (tree-lined, married vine) and in more contained ones (head spur gobelet).
The increasingly shorter duration of the vineyard and growth in wood and vascular diseases are signs of a growing distance between modern techniques and the anatomic biology of the vine. After 25 years, production is more contained and we can expect more balanced vines… but the vineyard is exhausted.
Modern management is often more of a requirement than a rational choice. The ability to combine mechanisation and the needs of the vine can help improve the plant’s wellbeing and its duration with secure economic advantages and improved wine quality.
But the revaluation of old vines must be a strong national undertaking around which to build historic values, landscape architecture, germplasm resources, naturalistic designs and unforgettable taste and aromas.
We must return to investing in the culture of the vineyard and its historical areas or “vineyard territories” - rare patrimonies and heralds of beauty and wealth.