Walking through Venica’s vineyards in late spring or early summer, so precise and orderly that they resemble the sculptured hedges of an Italian garden, the vines seem to be in perfect harmony with the myriad wild flowers (dandelion, daisies, rape…) that grow between the rows.
This is no coincidence: the spontaneous grassing of the land is supplemented each year with sowing of mixtures of herbs defined as ‘multifunctional’, whose specific properties bring great benefits to both the subsoil and the topsoil. These mixtures are called “green manure”, are customised according to the characteristics and needs of the individual vineyard and contribute to the creation and maintenance of an ecosystem around the vine in perfect harmony with its surroundings.
SOWING GREEN MANURE IN THE VINEYARD
This operation, also known as ‘green manuring’, is carried out at the end of the harvest, before the autumn rains begin. After the winter ‘rest’, at the end of the last spring frost, the green manure is ready to blossom into a spectacle for the eyes. Walking through the vineyards of Venica is always evocative, but in spring, when the atmosphere is intoxicated by a thousand scents, the meadows are dotted with colours and the first buds appear on the vine shoots, it is like walking through an impressionist painting: it is a true sensory experience.
Our customised green manure seed mix, tailored to the needs of our vineyards, is made up of different types of plants, including: rye, mustard, vetch, clover, rape, rocket, horseradish… Some belong to the leguminous family and provide nitrogen to the soil, a source of nutrition for the vine. Others belong to the graminaceous family and, rich in fibre, favour the formation of organic matter and humus. Still others belong to the cruciferous family and combat the establishment of soil pests.
(from page 47 of the report) Other benefits for the subsoil are, for example, improved aeration and water permeability at depth as a result of the decomposition of the roots of these plants, which therefore contribute to making the soil softer. The same plant mass resulting from decomposition represents a valuable source of nutrients, which enriches both the fertility of the soil and its level of biodiversity (fungi, bacteria, insects and animal species find sustenance in this way). A soil with better agronomic characteristics (such as porosity, structure, space for water and air, presence of organic matter, etc.) is also a more hospitable soil for the presence of life forms, indicators of the healthiness of the soil itself (earthworms, mites, etc.).
However, green manure is also very beneficial for the topsoil: it considerably reduces erosion phenomena caused by the abundant rainfall in our region, reduces the susceptibility of vines to diseases and the consequent interventions in the vineyards, and contributes to the maintenance of biodiversity, since each plant is attractive to many species of insects with different roles in the ecology of the system.
With the help of multifunctional sowing in the vineyard, we are thus able to maintain a healthy ecosystem for the vine and a vital soil free of weeds. Our priority in fact is the preservation and enhancement of the natural resources we have.