The 4 seasons

The 4 seasons of the vine We could link the rhythm of the vine to the four seasons of Vivaldi, but that would probably be a little pretentious. In the bosom of nature, the vine grows and changes right up to the harvest. From dormancy, it goes through cycles, aking food from the earth to give us its fruits. This is also the rhythm of the winemaker that we are going to discover.

The Winter

The vine grower’s year begins with the pruning. The vine - this liana - which it is necessary ceaselessly to control. We wait for in the middle of December to begin this long work. The sap has then descended again, it is the resting time of the plant. The cutting aims to limit the extension and the ageing of the stock. We practise the cutting Guyot sytem.

To limit the future yield we leave only 6 eyes on the fruiting cane (baguette) and 2 on the spur It is the dance of the clippers, the long and laborious work that will determine the future of the vine. It is necessary to be exacting, conscientious, attentive. Once this work has been done, it is necessary to get rid of the vine shoots by burning them. The vine is then released from its old wood. The baguettes will take up their position (tied in) on the wire cord. We lay them down to spread out the vegetation.

The Spring

Winter ends with the weeping of the vine. Some tears flow over the pruning wounds. Generally the vine weeps 3 times before budding. Under the gradual warming of the temperature, the buds swell. They will slowly open, revealing the young shoots and finally the grapes. The vine flowers are borne. This must take place under good conditions to prevent setting failure. The air is then full of a delicate fragrance. Billions of flowers will perfume the atmosphere. This, which can last from 3 / 4 days to 2 weeks, is crucial to the outcome of the grapes. But it is also the moment of the full flowering of the vine that will enable us to determine the harvest date. We count 100 days. Of course the months that follow may affect these forecasts, but there have been few years where we have had to move or postpone the date of the harvest.

It is also the time for the first ploughings and the first treatments. It is long labour for those of us who work our land. It is necessary to seize the right moment, to take into account the weather reports and the nature of the ground, to work correctly. It is a very delicate moment which it is not always easy to plan to control the weeds effectively.
Then the race begins in the face of the of the development of the vegetation. As soon as the vine reaches several centimeters we begin de-budding and if necessary removing duplicate buds . The earlier the work is done, the easier and quicker it is. But it is impossible to be everywhere at once. The vine is going to reach the middle wires, then the top wires. This liana grows and grows and grows. The trimming consists of conditioning the plant and slowing down its growth. The first will be just a pollarding. We prefer it late. We have also noticed that the vine slows its rate itself and so limits the passage of the tractor.

The Summer

At the beginning of the summer the vine begins to slow down its growth. We put the finishing touches to the tying in the trimming and ploughing. According to the climatology and to the sanitary state of the vineyard, we continue (or not) the treatments. In August, the transformation of the ripening grapes begins. Easier to observe on Pinot noir, grapes will grow pink one after the other. The ripening takes shape. The berries are going to get larger and larger and engorge themselves with sun. They will become black, the acidity is going to decrease and the sugar, the phenolic and aromatic compounds to increase. The dice are thrown; it is the , crucial period so dreaded by the wine growers. The thunderstorms of summer, sometimes the carriers of hail, prevent us from keeping calm. We have to let time do its work and wait patiently for the grape harvest.

The Autumn

This season is the harvest period - the end of a cycle, the reward of the winemaker. In the vineyard we collect some berries to measure the sugar (and potential alcohol) levels using a refractometer. Thus we can fine-tune the harvest date and the order of picking from different parcels of vines. The harvest ended, the vine will become dormant, the leaves will change colour. November is the end of the season, the leaves fall, the days shorten, the cold arrives.... once again the cutting back will soon restart .