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Winery proud of its roots

Turning nature’s finest fruit into a Maltese wine requires patience and dedication. Jeremy Cassar, director of marketing and export at Marsovin, goes through some of the hardships of winemaking.

Every breeze, every drop of water, every grain of soil and every ray of sun a vine is exposed to throughout its annual life cycle contribute to the health and quality of the grapes it yields.

There is nothing more rewarding to a winemaker than being able to craft a wine with a style that clearly identifies the grapes’ provenance when tasted

Add the hard work of everyone involved in turning nature’s finest fruit into a Maltese wine and it is clear that Mother Nature rewards our efforts. The complex individuality of every wine is testament to this multitude of factors needed for a healthy vine to produce grapes and, even if we have been producing wine for decades, we still marvel at every harvest as it turns into a unique Maltese product.

Throughout the year a vine faces every hardship the weather can possibly hurl at it and yet, year after year, it delivers a crop of grapes that will turn into the precious liquid we call wine. Here are some of the steps along the way:

• It takes three years for a young vine to bear its first crop suitable for winemaking.

• The annual life cycle of the grape is of around eight months, from the end of dormancy right up to harvest.

• It takes 1,500 hours of sunshine and 690mm of rain to grow a healthy vine.

• Many hours of painstaking manual labour are needed for vineyard chores such as pruning, ploughing, training, tipping, thinning and harvesting.

• 50 pickers are needed on one given day during the grape harvest.

• 400 vine growers supply Marsovin with locally grown grapes from 1,200 tumoli of land under vine (equivalent to around 200 full-size football pitches).

• A total of 1,275,000kg of Maltese grapes have yielded 950,000 litres of wine this year, amounting to over half of all locally grown grapes.

There is nothing more rewarding to a winemaker than being able to craft a wine with a style that clearly identifies the grapes’ provenance when tasted. Only then will the wine have reached its ultimate expression.

The diligent winemaker will make sure that every step of the way, from the very beginning of the vine’s life cycle, is strictly controlled and leaves no stone unturned to guarantee optimal conditions throughout.

The choice of soil, location and mesoclimate of the vineyard heavily influence the style of wine being made, thus the vineyard site has to be chosen carefully.

It is thanks to this attention to detail that Marsovin embarked on a mission in the early 1990s which saw the winemaker plant five private estates around Malta and Gozo.

Each has a different character but remains true to the Maltese terroir.

These privately owned vineyards today cover 200 tumoli and are planted with different noble grape varieties for a total of over 88,000 vines.

Every vine tells a story by means of its fruit, the land that lies beneath it and the climate that surrounds it.

All this is the result of Marsovin’s continuous investment in Maltese roots. Being proud of the island’s great potential, the company encourages wine lovers to try and enjoy local produce as much as possible.

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