Growth cycle of the vine

The year for the winegrower starts immediately after the harvest, ie. mid-October.
The vine is at rest in this period.

October
The vine leaves change colour and begin to fall with the first frosts.

November
The base of the vines are earthed up to protect them against winter frosts (” buttage “).
Beginning of pruning.

December
Continuation of November’s work.
The branches are attached to the horizontal wires  (“accolage”).
Vines are treated.

January
The beginning of the main pruning. Pruning is the most specialised work in the vineyard, as it must be adapted to each vine.

February
Continuation of pruning

March
End of pruning.
Spreading of fertiliser.
Grafting of new vines.
The vine sap begins to rise and the first signs of growth will be seen.
Stakes are cut and their bark is taken off.
They are then blunted and dipped in copper sulphate.

April
The earth is taken away from the bases of the vines (”débuttage “), and is hoed around  the plant (“binage”).
Tying down of the year’s productive cane to the lower wire.
Planting of young vines from the nursery, which were grafted the previous year.
Spreading of herbicide.
First leaves form on the vine.
The new season’s buds burst.

May
Planting of the newly-grafted vine-stock in the nursery. 1st spraying against insects and fungal diseases. The spreading shoots are brought in within the horizontal wires to enable the sunlight to reach the nascent bunches better and to clear the rows for the tractors to pass.

June
Relevage continues. The branches are tied to the horizontal wires (” accolage “). Spraying. The vine flowers and fruit then sets on the shoots.

July
” Accolage ” continues. Trimming of the vine shoot-tips to see that the maximum amount of nutrient is diverted to the grape-bunches. Spraying. If the fruit set has been overabundant, the grower may remove surplus bunches to restrict production and increase quality.

August
Trimming. Preparation for the harvest : cleaning of the press-house and the vats. This is the quietest month, as spraying should not be continued in the four weeks up to picking. Early in the month, the grapes take on colour. Berries swell as they reach maturity.

September

Grapes will be tested regularly for sugar content, usually carried out in the vineyard with a refractometer. Harvesting in late September or early October.