"Mountain vine-growing" - No. 11


  • Ecosustainable vine-growing on steep slopes
    M. Fregoni - Editorial
  • Congress: "Vine-growing on steep slopes: what future? Socio- and technical-economic prospects"
  • The dynamics of viticulture in the Douro Valley
    V.M. Casal Rebelo, F.Bianchi de Aguiar, University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro – Portugal
    The changes that Europe underwent after the 2nd World War involved also Portugal, even if a bit later and at a smaller level. Being conditioned by the outside, most of them are in ralationship with the industrialization and the expansion of the service industry of economy and they are also at the origin of the peasants' flight frome the countryside. The rural flight, the consequent labour reduction and the rise in wages have caused both a technological change and a structural one of the farms. The aim of this article is to analyse thew recent dynamics of the viticultural farms in the Douro Valley from the point of view of the structure and the introduction of new techniques and technologies by which farms are allowed to save lots of manual labour. The solutions taken by the viticultural farms to face the labour reduction and the rise in production costs, change not only according to their physical characteristics, but also to those socioeconomic of the owners and of the viticultural sector in the Douro Valley. The small viticultural farms are characterized by the almost exclusive use of family labour and are the "traditional" models of the viticultural system of the Douro because thet use neither machinery nor advanced technology. These farms live in a "dynamic stability" because, in general, their area doesn't grow in size and the old or aged vine-stocks are replaced on the spot. Nevertheless these farms are very important for the Douro, thanks to their role in the entire viticultural production, for the care and hard labour in growing these vineyards and, consequently, for the quality of the wine they produce. Moreover they preserve the richness of the landscape of the area tanks to the maintenance work of the traditional production system. The large-size viticultural farmsare characterized by the almost exclusive use of paid labour and are the "modern" model of the viticultural system of the Douro Valley. They are experiencing a "process of growth and change" due to 1) their areas, which have increased and the purchase of new lands; 2) the important efforts they make to renew the traditional vineyards; 3) the investment in the purchase of tractors and transport vehicles; 4) the more and more rising production; 5) finally, the diversification of tourism.
  • Socio-technical-economic prospects of the northerly Côtes du Rhône
    F. Roth, Interprofessional Committee of the Côtes du Rhône, Tournon - France
    The northern Côtes-du-Rhône incluse eight vineyards which have been famous for centuries: Côtes-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint Joseph, Cornas, Saint-Péray, Hermitage. Their present success depends, first of all, on a production of quality which has been acknowledged and indetified with a "terroir" thanks to the rules of Denomination of Controlled Origin. Their popularity is based on vine-growers and traders whose prestigious names guarantee the image and reputation of the "Crus". All the people working in this vineyard will have to try to give due, specific answers concerning hill viticulture. They will have to accept the big challenges of the environment and the customers' health which are typical of the great vineyards of the future. Besides, the future of the wines of the northern Côtes-du-Rhône in linked to the one of the wines of the Côtes-du-Rhône. In fact, unting to the oder DOCs of the Rhône Valley, they develop the concept of "Rhône Wine Valley" so as to be more easily indentified by the foreign consumers. Finallu the wines of the northern Côtes-du-Rhône will have to confederate in order to communicate more effectively and to promote the direct sale from the grower to the consumer as well as the district tourism. The vineyards of this area are strong enough to prosper. If they can analyse their evolution and compare it to the present, if they can keep on relying on "prophets" and brave men full of will, they will certainly be able to face the third millennium with serenity.
  • Studies and experience in Val di Cembra (Northern Italy) and on Ischia (Southern Italy).
    G. De Ros, F. Iacono, G.Nicolini, S.Michele all'Adige Agricultural Institute, Trento - Italy
    The steep slope viticulture is characterized by agronomic similitarities - the difficulty in mechanization, the risks of erosion - and by the peculiarity in the socio-economic organization - marginal areas, size of the property, areas very good at developing tourism, productive alternative. In the Italian experience these characteristics correspond to the organization of the system of production, transformation and marketing and they are chiefly devided into cooperative and private system. In order to analyse the technical, socio-economic aspects of these two organizational systems, our report concentrates on the description of two typical examples: Cembra Valley, in northern Italy on the slopes of the Dolomites, and Ischia Island in the Gulf of Naples (southern Italy). The two areas differ because of the following parameters: climate (continental and Mediterranean respectively), pedology, cultivated varieties, vine-growing system, agronomic problems and organizational system (ccoperative and private respectively). At first we present these peculiarities by discussing about the characterization of the viticultural system of production of the two areas in question. Moreover we describe the balance sheet, devided into Costs and proceeds. of two farms following the cooperative and private system respectively and typical of the two areas in question. The result of the data obtained is a hypothetical balancing of accounts which singles out the sales level - made up of quantity. quality and market price - below which the productive asset of the above-mentioned areas is not good value.
  • Future prospects for terraced and steeply sloping vineyards. Analysis of two situations in the Valais.
    S. Emery, Valais Chamber of Agriculture, Châteauneuf-Conthey – Switzerland
    The investigation has been made with a sample of 670 vineyards owners in Valais, of which 535 run their own plots of land and, in some cases, other lands leased from a third party. These vine-growers belong to two areas which have been chosen for the vineyards especially split, terraced, steep sloped and with a limited access to the lands. In the area of Fully there are mostly particular coltivations (viticulture, arboriculture and horticolture), while the area of Lens-Chermignin has been chosen for its proximity to the important holiday resort of Crans-Montana. Thanks to the results which have been got, a category of vine-growers has been created according to thei main activity and the way of improving the production (grapes sale or wine-making). In Valais there are five important cetegories: 1) vine-growers/wine-makers; 2) producers; 3) wine traders; 4) mixed growers; 5) occasional vine-growers. To conclude, we have pointed out the tendencies and future prospects of the categories which have been object of our research.
  • Socioeconomic data for the future of mountain vine-growing
    J. Vallat, Zurich Federal Polytechnic - Switzerland
    The aim of the socio-economic survey carried out among more than 200 mountain vine-growers, in eight areas very different the one from the other for their climate and production conditions, was to find out the peculiarities of the mountain vine-grower and to know his family, his professional occupations and the part of his income represented by viticulture. The results point out thet the mountain vine-grower is a diversified figure: the full-time vine-growers are very few, on the contrary the part-time ones are the most numerous and among these many are retired people. In the areas whose natural conditions are the most difficult slopes, terraces, parcelling out, altitude the prices got for the vintage are the highest, thanks to a quality production, which is low if compared with the area, and the sale on the spot. The wine cooperatives do a very good valorization work. The prices per kilo of the sold grapes go from 3500 to 800 liras. Yet, you will find the lowest prices in the areas with the best production conditions. The sale average volume per farm and area go from 30 to 3 milion liras. In the areas where natural conditions are difficult (small farms) most of the works are still done by hand, in spite of the effort yhey need, more for passion than for economic return. In this case one's private use becomes very important. The razionalization of the works offers some possibilities, but it needs some investment, therefore capitals difficult to get; that's why we think that we will have to make sure at the same time both of the means of razionalization and of consolidation of that income which is not represented by viticulture. In fact we think we will be able to guarantee the maintenance of the mountain viticultural activity only if the economic sector of the whole area keeps productive and is diversified. The razionalization measures of viticultural production and the area economic development are well worth being overwhelmed with attention by CERVIM more than in the past.
  • Economic issues concerning the reduction of working hours in vine-growing on steep slopes
    A. Simonis, E. Kolh, SLVA, Trier - Germany 
    The manual labour can considerably be cut down when traditional system (such as those with complete "annoccature" and separate stakes) are turned into different growing ones with wider distances between the plants and between the rows. Without changing the technique of the machinery, the results point out that the final amount of work hours is nomore over 300/he (except for the hand harvest). In the steep slope vineyards it is also necessary to limit the labour from an ergonomic point of view. The espalier system is fundamental for the specialised mechanization. The system may be based on rope traction and direct traction. If there are no seasonal workers, the mechanization is the only way to realize this viticulture, but in general it doesnt cut down the production costs. The climatic influence (both different years and sun exposures) has caused 30% variation in work hours. The growing systems based on plant reduction, have caused, and this happened especially during the dry years, a smaller harvest, but the qualitative results are better. The plant reduction/he the elimination of the single plants and the adoption of the "triangle system" generally give better, qualitative results.
  • Following in the steps of diversification of vines (vitis vinifera)
    F. Regner, Bundesamt fur wein und Obstbau, Klosterneuburg – Austria
    The relationships of the traditional grapevine cultivars were always a matter of speculation. Classic methodology of ampelography could neither resolve the disorder of grapevine cultivars nor deliver valuable information about heterozygositis for grapevine breeding. Especially relationships within the species Vitis vinifera only could be assumed. Nowadays several molecular methods allow to investigate the genome of grapevine and to compare the cultivars to specific loci. Microsatellite markers were applied to characterize more than eight hundred genotypes. Due to this genetic information, several parentages and incrossing relationships could be recognized. On the origin of the cultivars: Burgundy, Silvaner, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gamay, Auxerrois, Furmint and several others we could reconstuct the development of today's grapevine cultivars. Genetic analysis allows to detect incrossing of key-cultivars or even to determine both parents of a cultivar. According to our findings the multiplicity of grapevine is based on the selection of local types. These genotypes were improved by several incrossing events. Concerning European cultivars for cool climate, the incrossing of two main genepools could be recognized. On one band progenies of the cultivar Traminer were preferred due to high wine quality, on the other band Heunisch derived cutlivars convinced for their vitality and higher yields. The classic grapevine cultivars, which have be maintained for today's production, have developed from spontaneous pollination of former vines and were selected during the centuries. Hence the traditional cultivars had preserved the secret of successful crossing. Genetic analyses by SSR makers allows to illuminate the way of combinations and to demonstrate the development of several classic cultivars.
  • Petit Rouge: first homologation of Aosta Valley clone vines
    F. Mannini, NRC Turin - Italy
    The varieties of vine cultivated in Aosta Valley include the international, the extra regional and the autochthonous ones such as "Petit Rouge", "Vien de Nus", etc.. As for the last ones, it's not possible to find propagation material which has been certified in the nurseries of the other regions, it is therefore essential to select them on the spot. The Genetic Improvement and Vine Biology Centre - CNR of Turin, in collaboration with other institutes, has made a clonal selection of the most important autochthonous cultivars from Aosta Valley. At the end of 1997, this work was realized through the approval and the entry in the catalogue of four clones of Petit Rouge: CVT AO 6, 16, 35 and 38. They are the first clones of autochthonous cultivars from Aosta Valley. They've got different, but complementary characteristics; by mixing them, we should be enabled to get optimum results in the different habitats and years.
  • Award ceremony of the 8th International Mountain Wine Competition
  • Contributions to mountain vine-growing in Switzerland - an example for the European Union
  • CERVIM lobbying: from the resolution of Vila Real to the declaration of the OIV.
  • Memorandum of understanding signed between the AREV (Assembly of European Vine-growing Areas) and the CERVIM