“With this year’s capricious weather, anyone who does not train his/her vines increases the risk of rot developing,” says Mr Quenardelle, a winegrower who is a member of the Grauves Cooperative.
After the “budburst”, i.e., when our vines reawake and the growth cycle begins anew, the maintenance of our “vitis” continues with various work carried out in the vineyards aimed at controlling the yields and improving the quality. The vine is a creeper and, without the intervention of the winegrowers, it would grow uncontrollably over the ground, trying to spread as far as possible.
Training the vine is important work that is carried out after disbudding and raising the training wires. It takes place in June or July, depending on the stage of vegetative growth, and consists of separating and organising the shoots, holding them in place with wires and staples.
This allows the leaves to better capture the sun while receiving good aeration, thus preventing the development of diseases and thereby reducing the need for any inputs (phytosanitary products and/or copper and sulphur). This is sometimes carried out before flowering, as this aeration can also help with fertilisation.
For the vines in the Champagne region, training is a very important operation, but it is also time-consuming and carried out entirely by hand.
Each shoot is positioned vertically and in the same order as it is positioned on the structure of the vine. Some winegrowers will also take advantage of this operation to remove the visible secondary shoots (from a bud on the current year’s branch) as well as the suckers (shoots that draw sap) present on the vine structure.
Using the traditional training method, 1 hectare of vines represents the equivalent of an average of 90 hours of work for one person, according to Mr Quenardelle, treasurer and member of the Grauves Cooperative.
An abundant harvest with good maturity and excellent health often results, in part, from well-trained vines, which clearly shows the importance of this work.