Keine Kamera verfügbar. Bitte Zugriff auf Kamera erlauben und Applikation neu starten.

The wine year

Have you ever wondered what a year in the life of a vineyard entails? And how the harvested grapes are processed in the cellar? Here, some of the best vintners talk us through each season's winemaking tasks.

Season by season

The bottle of wine on our table is the product of the vintner's skill and experience. Mondovino has visited outstanding Swiss winemakers and renowned wineries in Europe. As well as learning all about the main tasks in the vineyard and wine cellar, we also discovered a number of traditions and regional distinctions. Our short films guide you through the wine year, season by season.

The wine year in spring (March to May)

The vines are awakening from their winter slumber. The grapevine sap is rising from roots to woody shoots. As temperatures climb, the winter buds begin to swell. Budding heralds the start of the vine's annual growth cycle, and the wine year begins. Some grape varieties begin this cycle earlier than others. The vintner's focus is now on cultivating the ground, planting out young vines and cuttings and re-tensioning wires.
In colder regions, frost protection is now essential, as the fragile young plants and green shoots are easy prey for sub-zero temperatures. In the wine cellar, meanwhile, the focus is on bottling the wine and the preliminary work this entails.

The wine year in summer (June to August)

June marks the start of what are known as the ‘hundred days’ in the vineyard: the period from flowering until harvest. The flowering period, which lasts around ten days, needs warm, dry weather to ensure the best bloom. This is when the rows of vines become a hive of activity, as surplus side shoots have to be de-budded and the grapes thinned out. This foliage work is important to the formation of the canopy, which delivers nutrients to the ripening grapes.
Even at this early stage, the fruit set gives an indication of the potential harvest yield. During this phase, it is also important to protect the vines against diseases such as powdery mildew, downy mildew and botrytis. Veraison begins in August. In continental areas, preparations are underway for the harvest, which may have already begun in Mediterranean regions.
Meanwhile, in the cellar, bottling proceeds apace. Equipment is repaired and barrels are inspected.

The wine year in autumn (September to November)

Since summer, the sugar content of the still unripe grapes has been steadily increasing, and the tartaric acid and malic acid are becoming milder. Besides light, a sufficient supply of water is essential to maximize sugar production. In very dry regions, drip-feed irrigation may be used to boost the water supply. Sun and warm temperatures encourage optimum physiological grape ripeness. How the grapes ripen depends on the variety and the vintage.
The start of harvesting may vary by several weeks, depending on the variety of grape involved. From September, it's all systems go in Swiss vineyards as the harvest of Chasselas, Pinot noir, Merlot and other specialities begins.

The wine year in winter (December to February)

In winter, the young wines are aged in the cellars. Ageing takes place in steel tanks and/or wooden barrels, depending on the desired wine style. Following alcoholic fermentation, the young wines are either left for a while on the lees or transferred straight to new tanks. Oenologists enjoy a lot of freedom in how they approach tasks such as malolactic fermentation, barrique ageing, and the creation of sparkling wine.