Thank you to everyone who has seen (or experienced) the cold weather locally in our vineyards in Cardan and written to check if our vines will be OK. They will be fine and although many of our friends locally have had to endure some difficult conditions, from a vigneron’s perspective, the intensely cold spell has been good.

Yes, it is possible for vines to be damaged by extremely cold weather but don’t forget there are several colder places in the world where vines thrive – like Canada for instance! Vines (particularly organic vines) have very deep roots which means that when it gets cold, the sap can safely retreat below ground to a more sustainable temperature. And when that sap has descended into the plant and the branches above the ground are dormant, this is an excellent time for pruning.

This cold spell has finally finished the 2011 growing year, which due to the mild autumn, had continued well into winter. For those vignerons who had already completed some of their pruning, there was a real risk of early bud burst which the cold weather will have instantly killed!

Pascale can now start the pruning process. As we explain in the attached video, pruning is not just a case of cutting back the vine as if it were a garden shrub! Pruning is an opportunity to not only design the architecture (shape, canopy height, number of vertical shoots, etc) for the coming 2012 season but also for the year after that. The vigneron must also select a small new young spur with a single bud on each side of the plant which will grow a vertical shoot this year which will be pulled down and used as the main horizontal branch in 2013.

Vine cultivated as a Double Guyot

Double Guyot style vine cultivation

Pascale puts a lot of time, care and thought into getting each plant correct for the months ahead. You can only cut once and as always the results speak for themselves! Our vines are grown in what is called a ‘double guyot” or Y yoke system which gives the vine a branch on either side of the main trunk and a resulting wide broad canopy to catch the sunlight. It is one of the most popular pruning styles in the world. In the drawing, you can see a double guyot vine prior to pruning. The current horizontal branches and their vertical shoots are cut off and removed leaving just the two young vertical shoots growing from lower on the main trunk of vine. These will be pulled down and tied horizontally to make the main branches from which this season’s vertical shoots will grow. Sadly the picture does not show the small young spurs we talked about in the paragraph above which will be used to form the horizontal branch in 2013.

I don’t think we made that very easy for you – it is not an easy topic to explain in writing so we will try and get you a couple of small video clips of Pascale doing the work in the vines. What other topics would you like to read about? Please leave a comment here or go across to our Facebook page, add a like to the page and leave your request. Thank you….