The heart and soul of Soul Tree, the vineyards are located in India's largest wine-grape growing district, Nasik. The vineyards are located in region that is blessed with a tropical climate, warm days and long cool winter nights, superb microclimatic conditions, and mineral rich soils with excellent drainage brought about by millions of years of soils deposited by the region's major river, Godavari.
The worker that you may find in the vineyards is your typical hard working weather-beaten Indian farmer who toils away in the blazing sun to bring us our tipple of pleasure. But look closely, and you’ll spot a glint in the eye that comes only from the satisfaction of a job well done.
Viticulture in India is very different from other regions in the Northern Hemisphere as the harvest season falls in February - March, coinciding with the typical harvest season in the Southern Hemisphere. As a result of the tropical climate vines stay evergreen throughout and do not get dormant, making it technically possible to get two crops a year in many regions. However, to ensure concentrated fruit flavours the wine industry has generally used a double pruning, single cropping strategy. The first pruning is carried out during summer every year to induce vegetative growth. The second pruning of maturesd canes is done after the rainy monsoon season to obtain fruit that will eventually be harvested during late winter.
Though the monsoon season brings heavy rains to most parts of India, a general policy of minimal intervention is made possible by a dry growth period during winter, and the resultant lack of dampness leading to harvest.
LIFE-CYCLE OF THE SOUL TREE VINE
Summer (May ~ June) - Summer pruning: Every year after harvest the vines are forced to undergo rest for about a month, during which period water is withheld to help concentrate the reserves in the mature parts of the vine.
Monsoon Rains (Jun ~ Aug): Nothing much happens during this period (probably true for the rest of the country as well) as India is lashed by thunder, lightning, and the mighty monsoon! Vineyards experience a period of heavy rains though soil conditions naturally vary depending on location and slopes.
Early Autumn (Sep ~ Oct) - Fruit pruning: Mature shoots are pruned for fruiting before the onset of the winter growing season.
Autumn (Nov ~ Dec) - Bud burst: Buds begin to burst and new shoots appear, each one destined to produce one or two bunches of grapes. The new shoots are spread along the trellis to ensure ideal exposure of the fruit bunches and leaves to sunlight.
Winter (Dec ~ Feb) - Vine growth and berry development: This is the period when Soul Tree's viticulturists, along with our farmers, are most vigilant to ensure that leaf canopy is managed to allow the fruit even exposure to sunlight and to manage any disease risk. If the crop is high, bunches are removed to ensure that the flavours are not diluted and that the remaining grapes reach optimal flavour concentration. As the fruit begins to ripen the grapes soften, start to change colour, sugar levels increase, acidity decreases, and most importantly, the ripe fruit flavours develop.
Spring (Feb ~ Apr) - Harvest: This is the period we have been waiting for all year and where the labour of love culminates in fruit being harvested and taken to the winery to produce our new vintage. There is a sense of excitement, urgency, and anticipation within the whole Soul Tree team during this period.