We continue our work at the vineyards by removing the leaves around the grapes (fruit zone). Removing leaves sounds a bit odd since leaves are the ones that photosynthesize and actually keep the grapevines alive. Removing leaves from a specific area during a specific period can actually offer a lot of benefits to our grapes and influence the aromas and taste of our wine.
By removing the leaves from the fruit zone (basal leaves) we improve the air movement around our grapes and expose them to more light. Air movement and higher temperatures around the grapes improve evaporation of water and help us reduce diseases such as Downy Mildew (Peronosporos).
If we expose our grapes to more light we can increase the color intensity of our grapes and thus produce deeper red wines. By removing the basal leaves we also decreases the pH. We want our wines to have low pH because this inhibits undesirable microorganism growth.
Several studies also show than basal leaf removal reduces the grassy, herbaceous or vegetable aromas and increases the fruity ones.
On the other hand we must always be careful not to overdo it. If we remove too many leaves we expose our grapes to the unforgiving sun of Cyprus which means we will end up with sunburned grapes (cooked). This is the least desirable thing for a winemaker.