For us, managing a vineyard implies the choice of using artisanal methods rather than those of industrial techniques, with great respect for the environment and the originality of the terroir
Respect for the environment : that leads quite naturally to strictly controlled cultivation methods:
Limiting or even total refusal of chemical weed-killers.The choice of non-aggressive plant treatment methods, applied only when strictly necessary. Restrict the use of insecticides as far as possible, in particular those that are harmful to all type of fauna. Careful maintenance of the edge of the vineyard without damaging the hedges and protecting bird and animal life, essential for the balance of the ecosystem, which includes the vines.
Optimise the specific nature of the terroir :
The pruning is crucial to the life span of the vine plant and the quantity of grapes it will produce.
Careful lifting and bending of the vine branches are simple operations that will improve the exposure of the grapes to the sun as they develop.
The job of eliminating the excess buds present on the vine branches, often considered as unimportant and removed either mechanically or chemically is also done by hand. This will leave more space for the fruit-producing areas and facilitate the pruning for the coming year.
Finally, the removal of some of the grapes before they ripen and the excess leaves, which will limit the quantity of fruit produced and optimise the maturity of the remaining grapes. Since the hot summers of 2009 and 2010, I consider that removing the excess leaves is not quite as important as before as the leaves protect the fruit from the hot sun.
This helps to keep the humus in good condition and enable the roots to establish themselves properly and thus obtain the full benefit of the ‘terroir’. In addition, the grass can be left to grow naturally between the rows every second row. Only organic animal fertilisers are acceptable. The final stage of work in the vineyard is the most symbolic – the grape harvest. This takes place over a period of 10 – 18 days, different every year. The starting date is always difficult to determine and takes place between the 10th September and 10th October.