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Life Cycle

Cultivation of the Vine

The vine cultivation system used encourages the creation of a micro-climate at the level of the plant’s organs, with optimum temperature, insolation and humidity constants for producing grapes that ripen perfectly, a fundamental factor in obtaining quality fruit with the minimum of human intervention.

The pruning methods used are Royat double cordon for the Tempranillo varietal, and double Guyot for the Cabernet-Sauvignon and Merlot varieties. The hardness of the pruning is adjusted to the vigour of the individual vine, with a general tendency towards hard pruning to ensure fuller ripening and better parching of the shoots.

Mechanical pre-pruning is carried out prior to pruning, with the cuttings being shredded and incorporated into the soil. In addition to dispensing with the labour of removing the cuttings from the parcel and facilitating the pruning process proper, this process avoids the need to burn the cuttings and the resulting CO2 emissions. Although these considerations are important, the main ones are agronomic: incorporation of the cuttings into the soil adds, on average, 800 to 1000 kg of dry organic matter per hectare, containing at least 10-30% of the vine’s annual requirements in terms of minerals and micro-elements. In addition, the phenolic compounds in the cuttings have an antibiotic effect, impeding the germination of weeds and fungi. Finally, the shredded wood has a positive effect on the soil structure.

The Iranzo family’s interest in shredding cuttings and incorporating them into the soil goes back to the 1960s, when Don José Enrique Iranzo designed, patented and marketed a machine to perform this task (known as the Rotovit IÑAKI). Nowadays, the process is carried out using a basic pre-pruner, which does not require sensors or a drive mechanism as it runs on a single guide cable. Needless to say, this operation is not carried out where there has been contamination from cryptogamic diseases.

In addition to winter pruning, during the flower-setting season the vine is debudded to limit yields biologically without resort to growth regulators.
Soil maintenance is carried out using mechanical inter-row cultivators. The use of mouldboard ploughs is particularly shunned, in order to avoid destroying surface roots and soil structure. The use of herbicides is also avoided. From the beginning of the 1998 season, the estate has been committed to the practice of leaving the soil fallow for at least six months in each year.

The vineyard is fertilised using sheep’s manure from extensively farmed flocks in the local district. Trials have been carried out using composted leguminous and grassy plants, but the general application of this fertilising method has been limited by its water demands and the area’s scanty rainfall. The installation of the point irrigation system may make it possible to consider its introduction shortly.

Of the various cryptogamic diseases, the only ones that could pose a threat to the vines, in view of the climatic conditions and the height of the vine stems, are downy mildew and powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is combated by dusting with sulphur once to three times a year depending on the weather. The sulphur is applied at night to take advantage of the lack of wind, resulting in a more uniform application, with the early morning dew fixing the product on the plants. The annual quantity of sulphur applied is never allowed to exceed 1.5 kg/hectare. Bordeaux solution is applied using manual spray guns in order to concentrate the treatment on the vines and avoid the waste, both in economic and ecological terms, involved with non-selective applicators.

No special action is taken against animal parasites, as our vines have not suffered significant attacks thanks to their balanced development and the conservation of the fauna that prey on such pests and which are not harmed by our cultivation practices. To encourage insectivores, 60 nesting boxes have been erected for insectivorous birds and bats.

The vineyard irrigation system is designed to allow the plants to develop sufficiently for the grapes to ripen properly, to alleviate but not entirely eliminate hydraulic stress, and to encourage good root development. The annual quantity of irrigation water varies, depending on the weather conditions in individual years, from 0 to 200 lts/m2.


The Vintage

Francisco Gabaldón, the company’s enologist, carefully monitors the degree of ripeness on each of the parcels into which the estate is divided, in order to decide the optimum moment to begin harvesting each one.

The picked grapes are placed in harvesting trailers, taking care that the load does not rise above 50 centimetres so that the grapes reach the winery undamaged and without beginning the fermentation process too early, and that they do not come into contact with foreign bodies that might alter their organoleptic qualities.

The short distance between the vineyard and the winery – less than one kilometre – means that transport time is short and that the grapes reach the winery before fermentation begins.
Grapes intended for carbonic maceration wines are picked by hand and placed in 20 kg crates so that they reach the winery intact.





The Winemaking Process

Grape processing:
Tras su recepción en bodega, se procede al despalillado de las uvas, sin que los raspones sean dilacerados.
Aprovechando el alto contenido en taninos de nuestras uvas, y pese al menor rendimiento que ello supone, se ha prescindido de la utilización de estrujadoras de ningún tipo; de esa forma se evita absolutamente el triturado de las pepitas y el laminado de los hollejos.

The addition of sulphur anhydrite is kept to a minimum to allow sufficient margin to add more later if necessary. In no case does the total quantity exceed the 70 mgs/l permitted under organic regulations.
Maceration is encouraged by very short rackings at long intervals, which helps to produce a wine without astringency. The intensity of the colour in the skins allows it to dissolve adequately without resort to pigeage (mechanically breaking the ‘cap’ of skins) or the use of enzymes.
The length of vatting varies depending on the type of wine, from 10 days for wines intended to be drunk young to 15 days for those to be aged in wood. The fermentation temperature is controlled so that it does not rise above 30º.
Carbonic maceration wines are vatted directly, without breaking up the bunches.

Final fermentation:
Following de-vatting, only “free-run” wine, not pressed in any way, is transferred to the tanks where it completes its alcoholic fermentation and undergoes malolactic fermentation. We attach great importance to this final fermentation because of its significant influence on the acidity level of the resulting wine and, especially, on its stability.
Finally, the wine is racked several times to clarify it, a process which is aided by our bitterly cold winters.
With cask-fermented wines, the final fermentation takes place in the barrel itself, with the wine remaining in contact with the lees for approximately two months.

Wines destined for ageing in wood remain in Bordeaux barrels not more than 3 years old for periods varying from 4 to 16 months. Their final grading as Aged in Wood, Crianza or Reserva depends on how long they remain in the barrel.
The wines continue to age in the bottle until they reach optimum quality. Conscious as we are of the importance of time, we do not skimp on it at Bodegas Iranzo.

Bodegas Iranzo - Caudete de las Fuentes - ctra Madrid 24 - 46315 - Valencia - Spain - Telephone: +34 963 846 000 - Fax: +34 962 319 282