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
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.
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
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
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.