Our philosophy is one of maximum care for the balance of each plot and we are determined to understand this balance in order to obtain the finest expression from each. There are factors, such as the clone of the grape variety or the rootstock (161-49, SO4, 41B and so on), which are decided conclusively at the time of planting but there are others such as pruning (number of buds), types of “green” work (disbudding, removing leaves and shoots, tipping, thinning out grapes and so on), vegetable cover (single, double or none) which we discuss every year depending on our observation of the vineyard over the year, the quality of the harvest and the annual analysis of petioles and musts. We do not use herbicides; the soil is ploughed or we leave vegetable cover depending on the characteristics of the plot. We have been registered with the Catalan council for integrated production since 2007 and have been using pheromones to control cochylis. Since 2010 we have been in the process of gaining organic certification. We are the heirs to an historic estate which we aim to cultivate and maintain. This is why we are implementing a sustainable management plan throughout the estate. We have a rainwater collection system to replenish our lake. This waters our woods and riverside pastures, playing a role in our microclimate and boosting biodiversity on the estate. To keep up our woodlands on El Serral and in the stream bed we have taken up the old farming philosophy of combining cultivation with livestock, bringing in traditional Albera cattle as well as sheep which graze on our vegetable cover in the winter months. On the field terraces on our southern slopes we grow almond trees and on the northern side, oaks.
The life cycle of the vine at Raventós i Blanc
Falling of the leaves: With the first chill of autumn, the vines begin to change color. The leaves lose their traditional green and autumnal yellow shades appear, turning the vineyards into an incomparable natural setting. Then the leaves fall off, leaving the vine bare. The winter rest period begins.
Winter rest: In the cold of winter, the vines remain dormant, without any movement. Sap does not circulate in their vascular tissues, and everything stops: they are resting. The days are cold and damp, with few hours of sunshine. Everything is quiet.
Pruning: The work of the wine grower begins anew during this winter rest period. The last harvest has been analyzed and it is time to decide on the year's pruning. Every vine is a work of art. Quality must be sought with every cut. The next harvest depends on it.
Awakening: With the first warmth of spring, the vine begins to feel the stimulus of the new season. The first drops begin to ooze from the fresh wounds caused by pruning. The sap has started to flow. This is the spring awakening. The vine "weeps".
Green pruning: Obsessed with growing, the vine develops new leaves which cover the fruit of its efforts: the bunches of grapes. It is the grower who determines the amount of leaves needed for balanced growth. Green pruning is an important part of vine-growing, and essential to the quality of the harvest. It is determined by sun, air and man.
Flowering: Spring is a time of aromas. The vineyards give off the soft perfume of the vines in flower. This unmistakable, penetrating smell tells us it is the beginning of the last stage in the vegetative cycle.
Selection: In July, when the bunches have appeared and the grapes are the size of peas, it is time to decide the amount to be left on each vine to ensure a balanced harvest. It is the wine grower who must decide this. Expert hands select the bunches to be removed and thrown away in order to assure maximum quality in those which remain.
Ripening: The fruit, with the heat and sunshine of August, begins its final change. The white grape berries become transparent: they are starting to ripen. Acidity diminishes and sugar increases day by day. A similar process also takes place in the red varieties: Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
Monitoring ripeness: Grape samples are taken from each of our plots to determine the best time to begin picking. Only in this way can we achieve the right balance between acidity and sugar in our musts.
Harvesting: This is the most crucial time for the wine grower. We are about to reap the fruits of all our work over the past year. The final exam on performance. The grape pickers come to the vineyard early in the morning and carefully cut off the fruit, treating it gently, to obtain the must we need, the quality for which we strive.
The sap has started to flow. This is the spring awakening. The vine "weeps".