The grapevines are weeping. This always tugs at our heartstrings as it means that the vines are coming back to life. Nature is waking up with the arrival of spring. It means that the long winter hibernation during which the plant goes into a deep sleep is coming to an end. The naked trunks will gradually bloom with life, the sea of brown will turn green as the leaves arrive over the next few weeks. The buds begin to burst on the vine and life returns. You might say that these are tears of joy.
This weeping is part of the vegetative cycle of the grapevine. It happens when the temperature of the soil rises and the roots respond (at around 10 °C), and so the sap begins to flow around the plant again. The increase in temperature triggers the activation of the root system of the plant and its cellular respiration.
The teardrops (a compound of vegetable matter) are in fact part of the process by which the plant heals the wounds caused by the winter pruning of its branches (in Coviñas we carry out dry pruning in the first half of December), protecting them from pests at the same time. This is when the sap begins to flow through the branches. The vine is getting ready to sprout, bud and transform its flowers into grapes.
And just how many tears does the vine shed? The number of “teardrops” will depend on the size of the cuts left by winter pruning and on when this pruning was carried out (the later the pruning the mightier the weeping). The crying will end after some ten days and then the cuts (wounds) are protected by the salts left behind after the tears have dried, along with a substance produced by bacteria that live in the goo. This will clog the conductive vessels of the vine, plugging them, and so stopping the crying.
Now at long last, the vineyards of Utiel-Requena are getting ready for warmer weather, for spring and its blossom.