As vines are deciduous plants and their growth follows the seasons, cultivation practices are equally dictated by the season.
Spring (September to November)
In spring the nodes on the shoots begin to swell and bud. Soon they develop new shoots with leaves, eyes, runners and small flower clusters. By the end of October the vineyards bloom and pollination takes place. The soil is ploughed and fertilised, excess shoots are removed and shoots growing out of rootstocks are broken off just below the surface. Water is essential and in very hot, dry areas judicious irrigation is necessary. In damp conditions the vineyard is more susceptible to fungal disease and it should be treated accordingly, as well as against insects.
Summer (December to February)
As the weather becomes warmer, the grapes ripen. Growth control by topping and irrigation are now applied to ensure maximum ripeness. Preparations for the harvest are begun in the cellar and, when the grapes are ripe, they are harvested and pressed.
Autumn (March to May)
Then harvesting is complete, the vine gathers reserve stocks of nutrients for the winter and wood grows hard to enable the shoots to resist winter cold. The leaves colour and fall, and growth ends. Fertilisation is again necessary and in areas where irrigation is used, the vineyards are thoroughly sprayed to encourage development of reserves. Disease control is important: as soon as the leaves have fallen, all the shoots except the bearers are removed by clean pruning.
Winter (June to August)
Winter is the resting period of the vine and no visible growth takes place. After good rains have fallen, the vines are heavily pruned and the soil fertilised where necessary by ploughing crops and natural weeds into it.