Development of the vine

The vine follows a specific growing cycle throughout the year:

 

Winter:

After the harvest, from November until late March, the vine enters its winter resting phase. Sap stops circulating in the plant. This is the perfect time to prune the vine in order to select the branches and buds that will grow the shoots and fruit of the next vintage.

During this time, we also inspect the stakes and wires.

 

Spring:

In late March and early April, the vine "weeps". This is caused by sap starting to circulate again inside the plant. Buds start to get bigger. The "eye" inflates, its scales move apart and its centre can be seen. Fruit-bearing branches must be bent onto the bending wire and the vine must be tied to the stake. Young leaves then develop, twigs get longer and small early bunches appear.

 

In May and June, the twigs get longer and the bunches space out and get larger. The plant can grow 15cm per day. Debudding must be started. Debudding consists of removing useless vine branches that do not bear fruit. The idea is to facilitate the transportation of sap towards fruit-bearing branches and ventilate the plant in order to allow the treatment products to work more effectively and dry out the leaves more quickly after it rains.

Since the branches grow rapidly, they must be controlled and guided upwards so they do not cross paths horizontally.

This is performed by movable wires which encircle the plant, whose height can be changed with clips. Between June 10 and 20, the vine flowers in anticipation of fertilization.

 

Summer:

Late June/early July. Wherever the flowers were fertilized, fruit set can be observed: an enlargement of the ovary, the vine’s female organ, which will later become a grape, with the bunch containing all of the grapes.  

 

July/August. In the heat and humidity, the branches and leaves grow longer and the grapes get larger. At the start of fruit set, they are the size of a small peppercorn and air can easily circulate inside the bunch.

 

By the end of July, all of the grapes are touching and the bunch takes shape. The ripening phase begins in early August. The grapes change colour; they either become red or their colour lightens. By mid-ripening, half of the grapes in a parcel have changed colour.

This is when the provisional harvest dates are set. Harvest normally takes place between 45 and 50 days after mid-ripening.

During this time, work in the vineyard is intense:

  - Manual: the end of debudding and lifting of the vine, leaf thinning and clearing (only for parcels with too many leaves and bunches).

  - Mechanical: treatment and weeding of the vines, trimming (the horizontal and vertical cutting of twigs and leaves to maintain the foliage in a hedge of a determined volume).

 

Fall:

September/October. Berries continue to ripen. The oldest leaves become less efficient, and leaves are removed from some parcels to help ripen the grapes through direct exposure of the bunches to the sun.

Branches bearing bunches begin to change colour and get harder. This is the cold hardening period, in which the plant stores away part of the sugar made by the leaves in the year’s branches.

This storage allows the branch to better resist the cold winter temperatures and mobilize this sugar in spring to help grow buds and new branches.

 

November/December. While temperatures remain mild, the leaves retain their colour. Once the first cold winds arrive in November, the leaves dry up and fall. The support wires are lowered to the ground. Around November 20, the pruning cycle can begin again.