28 February, 2000
Alain paces out the rows while checking the iron posts.
Our wine is just about cut as much down as it should be at this time. We spend a howlingly cold last sunday of February to check the seemingly endless climbing frames of the wine. They must be strong and ready for the time when the wine will need it.
Operating a vineyard takes the thoroughness and handiness of the gartner much more than the more mechanical and technological skills you use growing the other crops in our area. Regarding the wine the tasks seem endless in numbers both before and after the hibernation of the wine. They just vary with the seasons.
A bit of mental arithmetic reveals that we have got at least six-seven kilometres of wire fences to check. Broken iron posts must be replaced and destroyed wires too. Today however we settle for the checking part only.
First shake one way, then shake the other...
The ironposts alternately are shaken seriously through. If they yield much more than a few centimetres on each side, it is because, they are broken. The enemy is the frost. If water succeeds penetrating the iron, it will burst if it freezes to ice. Afterwards the post reaches a stage as loose-jointed as a rag doll.
We manage our 36 rows in less than an hour. The total: 60 iron posts and three wires to change is not that bad. After all it is a couple of years ago, that the condition was thoroughly checked the last time.
Alain always seems to find an unnecessary bud to cut.