Vine pruning: a crucial moment. It’s an almost sacred gesture, marking the beginning of the new season. Something ancient. Its origin is even legendary, sinking into the mists of time. In the dead of winter, donkeys and sheep ate plant branches in the absence of grass to graze. Whereupon, ancient farmers noticed that then, in the spring, the branches grew back much more lush and productive. The discovery goes back thousands of years, when man (previously nomadic) became settled and learned to cultivate the land. The first vine pruners? They were the wine-growers of the Caucasus, confirms gastronome Aldo Lissignoli, a “wine philosopher”. Of course, millennia have passed. They used to prune to get more product. Today, however, the focus is on quality. But as then, perhaps, the right time is dictated by the same ancestral knowledge: the phases of the moon.

«Once again this year we respected the lunar calendar», confirms Sergio Marchisio. «The pruning operations started on time on January 22». Crescent Moon. Notorious is the impact of our satellite: it conditions life on the planet, regulates the cycle of many living species. Not only that: the moon acts on the tides and the stability of the Earth’s axis of rotation. And since it “rules” liquids, how could it not affect wine? Speaking for itself is tradition, which recommends bottling when the moon is full. The waxing moon would favor the birth of natural sparkling wines, while the waning moon would be suitable for wines intended for aging. «After all», Marchisio stresses, «biodynamic viticulture, which we follow scrupulously, recovers certain knowledge of our ancestors. To make wine they always carefully observed the sky as well».

The very Steiner practice places emphasis on the stars gravitating around the Earth. The biodynamic calendar is meticulous: pruning should be done on “root days”. Earth and sky, indeed: the “root days” correspond to the time when the moon crosses the constellations of Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo. Does it work? Try it to believe: the results testify to it. In any case, the general opinion is unanimous: if done during the crescent moon (until the full moon), pruning activities have a strong invigorating power on the plant. They increase its lymphatic activity. In fact, the vertical growth of the vine is promoted: its upward momentum. In fact, it’s believed that cutting branches at this time can actually stimulate the production of new shoots and thus promote more luxuriant growth.

One thing is certain: for decades, the Marchisio Family has also promoted natural viticulture as a philosophy. The vineyard? A living ecosystem: a precious organism, to be strengthened year by year, respecting its balance. «It’s no coincidence that after the harvest we regenerate the soils with green manures. Objective: to increase fertility. So we sow herbaceous species that return to enrich the soils with nutrients that help the vines». Green manures, such as biodynamic composting. Top it off with horn manure, which provides the plants with an extra boost. But everything, every year, always starts with that ancient gesture: pruning. Which is like saying: shaping the future of the vineyard. With gentleness and wisdom. And relying first and foremost on the celestial influence of the moon.

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