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An Ancient Method of Cultivating Grapes

The Ad Alberello System

This low-intervention method which has remained unchanged for over 2,500 years and where it was first developed by the Greeks and Romans is characterized by simplicity – no stakes or trellises are involved. The vines are allowed to grow in the shape of a bush, a naturally low-to-the-ground method that enables vines to shade themselves, rather than being structured upward. Pruning each year, during the month of January, is an essential part of keeping the vine healthy.
Vite ad alberello is included on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the first of its kind to have received this prestigious distinction.
The ‘vite ad alberello’ cultivation has three main phases.
First, growers must dig a hollow, or ‘conca’, in the soil and plant the vine in the middle so that it is only a few centimetres above ground level. Growers must then prune the vine to produce six branches, while reshaping the hollow to keep the vine in the centre. Thirdly, the grapes must be harvested manually at the beginning of August.

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