I love this period of the year when my winemaking brain is on overdrive, when I project our future plantings, the equipment purchases to come, when I imagine our future vintages.
Dreaming is essential, but we have to be careful, because the harsh reality of the world economy can hurt …
Since our conversion to organic farming, the season starts earlier with the “décavaillonnage” (can someone please tell me what this word is in English!) of our vines starting in early March. The soil is turned around each vine to cut its superficial roots and control weeds. The tool of choice is a “décavaillonneur” that goes between each vine. It allows you to till the soil between the vines with a mechanical sensor above the blade to detect each vine (you can see it at work on this video).
We rediscover the “pleasures” of previous generations: after the Mistral winds (so present here in Costières de Nîmes), the soil is too dry; after the rains (and we got our share this year!), the soil is too soft for the tractor; done too soon and we promote frost damage, performed too quickly or with a tool set wrong and our vines will be torn out …
And so, we are relearning a lost art, getting acquainted once again with each plot: the one that dries at the end, the one that’s soggy midway through, the one where the grass grows like crazy.
All this reminds me of how important the human element is in our vineyards, and it will remain so as long as there are consumers who enjoy crafted wines. To all of you thank you!
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