The four seasons of the vine

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The quality of any wine originates with the vine. That’s why winegrowers take such good care of their vines throughout the year with different jobs that need to be done in each of the 4 seasons. It’s like a fascinating dance choreographed by the winegrower.

https://www.beaujolais.com/en/article/video-harvest-in-the-beaujolaisIn winter: pruning the vines

The vine’s year begins after the harvest, with the winter pruning. This takes place between November and March, and enables winegrowers to check the quality and quantity of the fruit produced by each plant.

In the Beaujolais region, the most common kind of pruning is Gobelet pruning. It's a short pruning technique that shapes the vine into a crown.

During this period, the winegrower comes face-to-face with each and every one of the vine plants on his land. It is an intimate moment between grower and vine and an important task that the grower often chooses to do himself.

Further reading: The vines in winter

It's also the time to fix problems on the land where the vines are grown (replacing stakes and broken wires) and to dig over the soil for the first time.

In spring: looking after the soil and green pruning

In the spring the sap rises. It's time to plant the young vines and replace the vine stock that has been pulled out.

 “Débuttage” (removing the mound of earth around the plant) aerates the soil and ”griffage”  (turning the soil over) destroys the weeds. Throughout the season, grassy plots of land sometimes need to be mown several times.

On top of this, the growth of the vine means that it has to be trained in such a way that each vine gets a maximum amount of sunlight. To do this first requires disbudding. Between May and June it's time for the tying or lifting, in other words lifting up the vine shoots with willow branches for vine stock that has been short pruned or with wire for vines that have been long pruned.  This also has to be done several times. It curbs the spread of disease.

Further reading: Working the vines in spring

In summer: caring for the vine up to harvest time

Starting in June, the vines are trimmed back, which involves snipping off the superfluous tips of the branches so that the essential nutrients are concentrated in the grapes. Here once again, this needs to be done several times right up to August depending on the vigour of the vine.

If necessary, the winegrower may also decide to thin out the leaves and carry out a green harvest to allow the remaining bunches to ripen correctly.

Throughout the summer, he keeps an eye out for and eradicates pests.

In autumn: the harvest

The end of summer and beginning of autumn is harvest time, when the fully ripened grapes that will be used to make the wine are picked. It's the defining moment of the winegrowing season and a particularly intensive time for all winegrowers.

The harvest sometimes goes on into October depending on the size of the vineyard and the weather conditions in a particular year.

Further reading: Harvest in Beaujolais

And then everything begins again…

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