Surgery Day 2016


Vine surgery: the new method for saving vineyards from the esca disease without uprooting has been presented in Friuli.

Capriva del Friuli has hosted today the presentation of data collected in 5 years of fieldwork and experimentations in Italian and French vineyards. The results have been astounding: 90% of the plants that underwent treatment have returned to full productivity.

“In a simple picture, our intervention is similar to how a dentist repairs a caries. We use small chainsaws to cut the trunk open, and remove the parts affected by the esca disease. The plant is then detoxed and reinvigorated, and can bear fruit at its full productivity”.


These findings have enormous implications for the quality of the vines, as well as for the economic aspects. When diseased vines are uprooted and substituted with new shoots, the vineyard presents uneven quality in its grapes, which affects the quality and the quantity of the wine. Having long-lived plants is a priority for any producer, especially for the most important international Maisons, since it ensures continuity in the quality, and distinctiveness of their great wines. Tree surgery also comes with considerable economic consequences for the producers, since it saves the costs of replantation (uprooting the diseased vines, digging the holes, implanting the vine shoots, training), and does not imply a lack of production from the new plants for at least three years.


Modern tree surgery, as practised by the Pruning Guys, is based on a 100-year-old technique to heal plants affected by the esca disease, and to remove the infected wood.


“We have then considered experimenting with tree surgery. Ravaz and Lafon tell us how this has been practised since ancient times, and Poussard employed it at the end of the 1800s with encouraging results, 90-95% of success rate. – Mr Simonit says – Thanks to the consultancy of the late prof Denis Dubourdieu, former director of the ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la vigne et du vin) of the University of Bordeaux, we can now implement tree surgery with modern tools”.


Trials have been conducted in 2011 at Chateau Reynon first, and then extended by Schiopetto in Friuli and by Bellavista in Franciacorta. In 6 years of hard work and experimentations, we have intervened on 10,000 plants of 5 varieties (Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot noir), in Italian and French wine-growing regions: Collio, Isonzo, Franciacorta, Bolgheri, Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux. Seven Simonit & Sirch “surgeons” are devoted today to training operator at local producers, with the aim of teaching them those delicate and precise operations that lead to perfect results in tree surgery.


Video: Surgery for esca disease



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