July 2018 – The sun has returned after five particularly rainy months, and the vignerons and vigneronnes have begun the work of green pruning: desuckering, removing secondary shoots and raising the support wires.
In certain parcels, “bridges” are also being created between two shoots from adjacent vines. This technique, called le tressage (literally “braiding”), is used on parcels such as those situated on the Brauzes plateau.
The braiding of vine shoots is a manual practice which seems to be of particular interest for the grapevine.
In the wild, a vine depends on other plants to be able to grow and flourish. With the practice of braiding, we permit it to recreate these social links, this form of communication, which proves to be beneficial to its development. To accomplish the manoeuvre, one must first wait until the shoots begin to bend. At this point, instead of trimming them, we delicately intertwine the shoots of the two adjacent vines in the same row. Very soon the vine tendrils will become intertwined, and the two vines will become linked. They communicate.
Not trimming the vines also allows us to preserve its apex.
The apex is found at the end or tip of the plant. It is at once the seat of the vine shoot’s memory, its senses, and its decision-making – essentially, it’s the plant’s brain. Carrying a memory of the meteorological conditions of the vintage, the apex protects its shoot by sending back information to the plant, thus safeguarding the grapes it means to bring to maturity.
After several years of experimenting, we’ve noted that the creation of these bridges results in an improved management of the plant’s water consumption. And since we no longer trim the vine tips, it also limits the growth of secondary shoots. In the event of a rainy period, as was the case in the month of June, this technique helps to better aerate the grape bunches (after desuckering), which aids in keeping the berries dry and exposed to sunlight.
The vines are thus better prepared to withstand external threats, to deal with hydric stress, and to communicate with one another, while developing their root system and their leaf surface. A growing method more in harmony with their natural development. All to produce grapes of ever greater quality… and an apex full of memories.