At Cascina Bricchetto Langhe we grow Moscato grapes, which we use to make “Moscato DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) wine”. “Spumante Moscato d’Asti DOCG” is characterised by a sweet aroma and flavour, with naturally formed bubbles. The wine comes in many varieties: sweet, demi-sec, dry and rosè.
I am passionate about our vineyards, which surround the farmhouse on a hill. Over the years, I have learned more and more about their physiology, and about each individual plant within them. My teacher was, and still remains, Professor Edoardo Monticelli, director of the Martini and Rossi Observatory and editor of the magazine “In vigna – L’eco delle colline dei vigneti Martini” (In the vineyard -The echo of the hills of the Martini vineyards). Edoardo is recognised as one of the greatest experts in the world of viticulture. I asked him to provide a summary, in photos and writing, of the Physiology of the Vine. I provide his answer below, in the hope that the many travellers who arrive in our region, drawn by the beauty of the area and the good things that come from it, will know a little more about the vineyards that they stroll through.


I have always been fascinated by this plant, with its sweet fruit and the complexity of its lifecycle. I love the different variations of wine derived from it. When drunk in small quantities, they make life that bit more cheerful. Enjoy your discovery of the vineyard world!

Giovanna
Did you know? Sometimes vineyards acquire their name based on their location (cru Cannubi for Barolo, Basarin for Barbaresco). Other times they get their name from the amount of sunlight that the grapes receive (Suri, when they have maximum exposure to the sun, and Aivè when they have less)

January

Grapes January

The branches are partially dehydrated.
The physiological functions of the plant are greatly reduced.
The roots store a great deal of reserve energy.

February

Grapes January

The branches remain partially dehydrated.
The physiological functions of the plant are greatly reduced.
The roots store a great deal of reserve energy.
Towards the end of the month, the vine begins to detect the rise in temperature at the root level.

March

Grapes

As the soil warms, the roots begin to resume their full activity and physiological function.
The sap begins to flow within the plants.
The vines begin to weep.
Water, hormones, mineral salts, and sugars are sent to the buds.

April

Grapes

Towards the middle of the month, budding begins.
Sprouts that were already formed within the hibernating buds begin to develop. This is the first stage of budding.
Their growth and evolution is slow, as the temperatures remain low, and photosynthetic activity is limited.
The growth of the internode is reduced.

May

Grapes

The sprouts grow more rapidly as the plants photosynthesise at a greater rate due to a higher level of sunlight and rising temperatures. This constitutes the second phase of budding.
The root system grows more rapidly.
The shoots of the plant begin to develop, and their vigour is greater above the bunches.
As they move towards the apex of the plant, the shoots decrease in length, and are oriented upwards. Flower buds develop in clusters.
In every flower bud the reproductive functions are completed.

June

Grapes

The plant begins to flower in the first week of the month.
The flowering evolves proportionally for every bunch.
This phase varies in duration, depending on the climate.
Rapid development of the flowers is usually an indication of good fertilisation.
The grapes begin to form in what is known as the fruit setting phase.

July

The bunch grows rapidly in its herbaceous phase, going from the pre-closing to the closing-green phase.
The vegetation progressively slows its growth down.
The root system’s development slows as it exhausts its food reserves.
The seeds harden within the fruit.
Reserves begin to be translocated.
The veraison begins and evolves.

August

Grapes

The vegetative stop is completed.
Photosynthetic activity is now at its peak.
The grapes fully mature and ripen.
Sprouts grow into branches.
The radical activity of the plant is reduced.

September

Grapes

The maturation process is complete.
Under ordinary seasonal conditions, lignification is completed.
The plant withstands different forms of stress until the full ripening of the bunches is reached.

October

Reserve food supplies begin to accumulate in the root system.
As the days begin to lengthen, and temperatures start to vary, the plant begins its preparation for the rest period.
Buds enter a dormancy stage until Spring.
Towards the end of the month, the growth of the root system resumes.

November

Grapes

The development of the root system ends with an advantage compared to the crown.
The plant will thus have adequate resources for the future budding stage.
Leaves fall from the plant.
Under ordinary seasonal conditions, it completes its preparation for Winter.

December

The plant eventually fully completes preparation for Winter.
Lymph vessels within the plant are partially occluded.
The branches are partially dehydrated.
The plant’s physiological functions are greatly reduced.