May 1st is bank holiday in France. Not for winegrowers in Champagne in this crazy spring though. Everything is - the frequency of early events more and more notable - one month too early. That is one month before usual.
Today Alain left to go to put the wires down in the upper plot. They have been placed in the first hook of the iron posts to minimize the risks of the tractor destroying the very vulnerable wires. Vulnerable, because they are very old and need replacement as soon as this is possible.
The corset of the vines
The vines grow at a fence, constructed in a way, that makes it possible to press the stems closer to each other on both sides with the help of a double wire, placed in a hook on each iron post.
But only, when the stems has grown long enough. Until then they can grow like they prefer. Live the happy, free life.
The plants now are so developped, that it soon will be time to trim the top stems. A job that is normally done in June, not the beginning of May.
On his drive today from Verzy through the Côte des Blancs to Loisy-en-Brie, where our vines grow, Alain saw people working everywhere. Not just weekend growers - like us - but everybody are busy, because the plants with the warm weather grow like crazy.
The time of the proces of the ébourgeonnage is long gone, says Alain. The idea is to remove surplus buds, but there are absolutely no buds left. Only stems that already have grown 10, 20 or 30 centimeters. They are still so fresh and green, that they are easy to remove. Very likely the commmon project of next weekend.
Dedicated or just interested readers can compare the development this year with that of last year here.
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