Wine & Other Stories

Luca Cantelli: drought in the vineyard

Written by Piero Pardini

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“The Wolf Post”, has already highlighted, in previous interviews, how climate change was a reality to deal with today and no longer tomorrow.
Summer 2022 will be remembered in Europe, especially in the southern side of the continent, as the hottest and driest. The difference compared to other seasons, such as last summer, lies in the duration of the high temperatures.
Drought is putting a strain on agriculture and the wine sector is not excluded. In Italy, the North has to deal with a new reality such as water rationing. The coming summers could be even hotter.

The challenges for the winemaker are many. We ask the crucial figure of the sector to think about the current issue and problems.
The thought of the oenologist Luca Cantelli.

© Luca Cantelli Enologo

Summer 2022: what difficulties, due to drought and the persistence of heat, are you currently experiencing in your work?
Despite being a summer with temperatures above average for the past two months, the vines have reacted well to thermal stress, with abundant production and a balanced leaf wall, without particular problems. The scarcity of rainfall is worrying, especially in the Tuscan coastal strip, which has been missing for three months. We hope that some rain will make us arrive at the harvest peacefully.

© Luca Cantelli Enologo

How are you dealing with any emergencies, also in view of the harvest?
The correct management of the soil and the leaf wall are necessary tools to limit damage from water and thermal stress. Thanks to the help of (organic) protein hydrolysates against abiotic stresses, for years now, it has been possible to bring the vineyards to harvest, limiting the criticalities due to the climate. In our Oenological Center we were among the first promoters of the use of these products, participating in experiments with universities since 2014.
Water saving, also through the creation of reservoirs, is increasingly frequent and should be encouraged more. Those who have the ability to create irrigation wells must then be able to better manage this practice, which has been left to chance too many times.

© Luca Cantelli Enologo

Differences in criticality between vineyards in the north and south (the latter used to extreme temperatures and drought)?
Everyone knows that the shift of viticulture north of 30-40 km every ten exists and that the plants in the north are using rootstocks that were previously purely from vineyards in southern Italy. Soil and canopy management is also gradually changing.

© Luca Cantelli Enologo

How does your work adapt in view of times when the climate, both in summer and in winter, will increasingly (and not positively) affect the work of agricultural entrepreneurs?
The consultant must promote all agronomic practices aimed at saving water, the proper management of the vineyard, to ensure that the entrepreneur has the right tools to deal with climate change.

About the author

Piero Pardini

Founder and editor of "The Wolf Post", Italian based International digital wine platform.
Freelance Journalist.
Wine critic and Sommelier.
He has also written about sports and technology for some specialized magazines.
Co-author of the authorized biography "Gianni Clerici - The writer, the poet the journalist", Le Lettere, Firenze.

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