02 April, 2002

The buds grow in Verzy

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Chardonnay-bud, that has begun to grow. The vineyards of Verzy consists of about 80 percent Pinot Noir- and 20 procent Chardonnay-grapes.

Not even 24 hours ago I wrote that the vines of Verzy so far show no visible sign of growth. Well, that was yesterday. Today they grow.

In the school - of course one of the crossroads of information in such a small society - I just heard, that the buds have reached the fase of growth, where they swell. As the weather should stay real nice a while, I presume, that the plants will be ready to show the first leaf pretty soon as well.

Why it is so special? I mean, it's just another leaf, and they come out just the same each year. Well, I guess it is for the same reasons, people keep reporting to newspapers when this or that kind of tree has the first leaf (In Denmark it is the beech that counts). Here the vine is the most important of the first signs of a winter truly gone. The buds growing and the first leaf coming out carries with it the promise of yet another yield but also the fears of bad weather, insects and disease that may destroy everything.

A bit of everything in the vineyards
Today we have the same pretty sunshine, and the vineyard workers use it to finish a bit of everything. As I today travelled through the Côte des Blancs I noticed several things.

  • Tre parceller er stadig ikke beskåret. De ligger fladt og lavt, det må være nogle af områdets allermest sårbare jorder, hvad frost angår, og det er derfor, de får lov at vente til allersidste øjeblik.

  • The little lamps that fight frost have been placed in several plots in the Côte des Blancs. This is the only protection, you can give the buds in case of the much feared spring frost. When the growth has begun, the time for intense studies of the weather forecasts and their predicted risks of frost begin accordingly. It may freeze well into the month of May, but the risk of real danger is much bigger when the buds and leaves are younger.

  • Many still bind the branches to the wires.

  • Some are repairing the wires, putting new posts. Like Alain has been doing during half a year now, though with enhanced activity these last three weeks.

  • The winetractors are spreading something. Against weeds is in the beginning of March, fertilizers in the second part of March. So now the tubes probably contain insecticides to kill those creatures, that eat the buds. Later others against other insects will join in as well as herbicides, if the occurrence passes a certain critical level. Vinetractors in a misty cloud of herbicides or something else is a frequent sight in the vineyards of Champagne all summer until one month before the grapeharvest. Vineyards driven after organic or even biodynamical principles exist. I will write more about this some other time, it interests me.

  • Even one or two fires fed by left branches from the pruning were lit. I doubt, that I will see this again this side of autumn. Some spread wooden chops in the routes between the plants. Since there are so many hours of manual work in the vineyards of Champagne, it is necessary that the walking is as easy as possible. Mud and tall weeds are thus to avoid.

    På dansk

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