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Traditional way of tying up vines bring ecology and sustainability in the vineyard

by Gogo on March 29, 2013

in All wines,EatIstria Vino

Bekve are a perfect example of an ancient, low-tech, local and simple solution that can be used to bring more ecology and sustainability in the vineyard – it is obviously biodegradable, it adapts to the stem as vine grows and its production facility is solar-powered.

bekve in water

This year it seems as if spring doesn’t want to come. It is still unusually cold for this time of year and right now it rains like cats and dogs. The Easter weekend won’t bring any Sun either and many Istrian olive and vine growers are getting nervous – olive trees and vines has to be pruned and, believe me, it’s hard or impossible to do it when your orchard is turned into swamp.

Soaking of bekve - white willow stemsAfter pruning them, the vines need to be tied up. Recent visit to Pula’s farmers and fish market reminded me there is an ancient way of tying up the vines. Almost every booth was selling bekve, long stems from white willow, that even today locals use for tying up vines. During recent visit of Motovun’s winemaker Marko Fakin for the future Vinologue Istria guide I learned that bekve need to be soaked for few days to gain in elasticity.

Bekve are a perfect example of an ancient, low-tech, local and simple solution that can be used to bring more ecology and sustainability in the vineyard – it is obviously biodegradable, it adapts to the stem as vine grows and its production facility is solar-powered. 🙂 Did you know white willow was usually planted on the borders of vineyards?

In good old times, before the western society got into the shit called helicopter parenting, teachers were using bekve for mild physical punishments of naughty kids.

Finally, it is very easy to use bekve in the vineyard. My cousin Santina, a 70-year-old lady who worked more in the vineyard than many Istrian winemakers, showed me how to do it. Here is the complete, step-by-step procedure.

Using bekve for tying up vines

Let me know if some step is not clear enough, I will be more than happy to help you out.

Happy pruning and tying and Happy Easter!
I hope the Sun will finally overpower the clouds… I can’t stand this long winter anymore.

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