We’re gifted with a well with enough water for both winemaking and irrigation. We use the irrigation very little and only when needed to ensure optimal balance for the plants and to avoid stress. We decided to invest in an expensive subsoil-irrigation system for several reasons. First and foremost, we limit the problems with fungal diseases by lowering the humidity in the surface. Secondly, the roots are always encouraged to seek downwards to reach the water stored in the lower laying layers of soil.
We work according to a clever technique known as ‘partial root drying’, whereby the roots of the vine are irrigated on one side only, the other side remaining dry. The dry roots send a chemical message to the plant to shut down because of hydric stress, so it switches its energy into fruit growth rather than the production of vegetation. But the wet side of the roots keeps supplying water, which goes straight into the development of the grapes.
The control of moisture in the soil is a useful way of manipulating the growth of the vine and the production of quality grapes.