A new week has started and it’s already been 2 weeks since I’ve started working in the vineyards.
At this time of the year the main work carried out in the vineyards is the green pruning (Travaux en vert). Done on the growing vines, the green pruning consists in training (palisser), topping (écimer) and overall pruning (tailler, épamprer) the vines in order to control diseases affecting the grapes such as mildew or botrytis, give the best resources possible for maturation and be at a top quality for harvest.
Concretely, pruning means cutting useless vegetation which is sucking energy on the vine to refocus it on the fruit-bearing parts.
Training is done when the growing stems start to become uncontrollable, we secured them to the trellises to prevent them from breaking and to leave enough space between the vine rows for the machines to carry out treatments or other work without damaging the grapes. Topping is the action of cutting the top on the stems once they are trained to prevent them from breaking in the wind, to limit shadows on the grapes and to concentrate the energy for fruiting instead of growth.
All these works can be carried out manually or with a machine but not everything can be done with a machine without damaging the vine or the fruits. Therefore manually remains the best way of proceeding (at least at the point in the growth process), even though not being the quickest way and it’s a tough and challenging job that has to be done under any weather conditions, but it’s very satisfying at the end when you see the vineyard “tidied up”!
The amount of green pruning work that has to be done is very dependant on the weather, on the one hand the vine-grower will have to shadow the grapes if it’s very hot and dry to prevent them from burning or mature too quickly or on the other hand, to ventilate the vine and expose the grapes if it’s raining a lot to prevent diseases and to help the grapes mature (which is what’s happening this year in Alsace).
Now let’s go back to the fun of tasting, this week we’re still in Spain and we are going to focus on the white wines from the Navarra region, right next to Rioja. The region is very famous for their reds but they also make excellent whites (that I’ve heard!). Price range between 9€ and 22€ (£8.00 and £18.00).