I have been asked by the good folk at the Herault Times to give a seasonal account of what a winemaker/Vigneron actually does throughout the year when he’s not clogging up the traffic bumping along on his tractor at 15km/h on busy roads.
March sees the race to finish the pruning which has been on-going since mid November of the previous year. At Domaine des Trinités we have approximately 25 hectares of vine, with in total about 100,000 vines to prune in about 4 months. A colossal, repetitive but probably the single most important task of the year. The way in which the vine is pruned will have a profound effect on not only the yield, but also on the timing of bud burst, the shape of the leaf canopy, bunch position and the overall macro-climate within the canopy itself. These factors alone along with the years weather have a huge impact on the quantity and most importantly the quality of the fruit we will harvest that year.
By the end of March, before the arrival of the delicate buds that can easily be damaged whilst pruning, this marathon should be over. So having made perhaps 1 or 2 million cuts with your lethally sharp electronic secateurs, you’d think that it was perhaps time to kick back and celebrate that the pruning is over for the year and that you have again emerged with all 10 digits intact. Well no, the race is now really on as silly season is truly underway.