12 May, 2016
Monday morning we began the ebourgeonnage in our plots in Loisy-en-Brie.
A grey morning, but that's fine with us. Rainy days equal not too cold weather equal no frost.
And as this job moves forward we see the damage of the frost of late April. And it may not even be over yet.
Many buds are frozen
Many of the buds in the low part of the vines are frozen.
The final result we will not really know before the time of grapeharvest.
So what are we doing with buds then anyway?
Well, they are not all frozen.
Pink spots on old wood
There are still buds, that develop into branches where we will get grapes at the end of the cycle.
But there are also buds that grow on the old parts of the plant. Buds that develop on wood, that is two years old or more, are not very fertile. We want the plants to deal with important matters, buds that will provide grapes, and thus we just remove the rest.
And those ones, those that create manual work right now. Well, of course they have not frozen. They show like little pink spots on the wood. They are easy to remove. It is just a long job, because you have to check all plants in all lines in all plots.
As you work, you get depressed about number of frozen buds.
Plus those that have been eaten by a little insect that lives in the soils under the vineyard. It is called the mange-bourgeon which means the one that eats buds.
This insect bothers us every year, we can see some lines give less grapes, and it is also linked to this.
As long as we can fill our boxes at harvesttime, we live with it.
Frost is worse. And it may not be over yet. More is announced on sunday morning.
10 May, 2016
For et år siden havde vi en skandinavisk kvartet på besøg på sådan en dejlig majdag.
Året efter var der besøg igen. Og sørme om ikke vi i dag skal vise en busfuld danske vinbønder rundt både ude og inde.
Først en tur i vinen, bagefter en tur i vineri og kældre og så ender vi der, hvor det altid ender her i regionen: Med et glas i hånden.
De kommer denne formiddag, og det skal nok blive sjovt. Men jeg er ikke helt tilfreds med vejrudsigtens pil på regn. Husk altså fornuftig beklædning for vi skal se på vinstokke uanset vejrlig.
Dette billede er fra i år, man ser tydeligt forskellen i vinens udvikling, og i øvrigt også ændret praksis i vingården. Pløjet jord har erstattet græs i år.
08 May, 2016
Frozen is not just Disney.
What you see is frozen for real. Chardonnay-buds that were just developing, and very likely will not.
Some of them at least.
Last week we had five nights in a row with frost below minus 2 centigrade. Too much, rather too little for a young bud. The limit of destruction is minus two.
The plot of Crochettes in Soulières. Most frozen buds are to be found at the feet of the plants.
Consequently, it froze, and the result is what you see above.
Sort of an evaluation
So what were the consequences?
Well, that's a bit of a tricky question, which is probably why there has not been too much information out yet.
It does not mean, that nothing happened, nothing froze. But rather that it's quite hard to evaluate, because what looks dead now, may grow later. Unfortunately also the other way around, what looks healthy may be in a worse state than we expect right now.
However what seems to be the case in our plots is about 1/3 of the rachets seem to have been kissed and killed by the cold. Which then means less grapes and no branches to renew the plant next time we prune.
The plots at Vieilles Grandmères in Loisy-en-Brie have been confronted with the frost as well.
Basically we'll know if we have the amount of grapes needed at the time of the vendanges as we count our baskets.
And as for the pruning part, we'll prune as we can as any other year.
Champagne in general
Generally speaking numbers came this week.
A bit less than 5.000 hectares seem to be completely destroyed by the frost here in Champagne.
7.500 hectares are partly concerned. Count our three hecatares in here.
According to Dominique Moncomble, who is the manager of the viticulture department of Comité Champagne, this period of frost can be compared with those of 1989, 1990 and 1991
The Chardonnay vines are more affected than the Pinots, which is normal as this variety usually develops first.
Champagne is not alone. Burgundy and the Loire Valley have suffered bad frost as well.
So sad, but hey, now look at this: Not all buds have frozen, and this one hopefully will provide grapes at harvesttime.
Click to read more before the frost and after the frost.
In the summer we spend weeks and weeks to get the wires up. Hook them on the posts.
Then in spring we're back to put them on the ground.
A nice little job for kids at least some hours of the day.
The upper and lower wires are hooked on the posts. The idea is to put them on the ground to let the vines grow freely. Read more (in Danish).
The buds came out - under tough conditions with frost - last week, but now the sun is back, and those that were not frozen for good now develop their leaves fast.
Beginning of a branch
Each of these little green things will develop into a branch of as many meters as we let it, before we cut the top. However, that's not for now.
Just stay tuned with the wires for them time being. There are more kilometers of vineyards to set loose.
05 May, 2016
A lonely giant in the distance.
You may barely see it.
But it is very real. It is our veteran enjambeur, it did an excellent job today.
The good old machine finished all the ploughing in the plot of Les Crochettes.
And on top of that, it broke down above the plot when it could have happened on the road. With a lot of possible destruction.
Whereas now the task is to go hunt another sparepart.
Veteran machine, veteran sparepart
However, here it's not just another new sparepart needed. Since this tractor is a veteran so are the spareparts. Which is why you need to hunt for them.
Then on the other hand you may be able to change the sparepart yourself rather than depend on the company that sells more moderne collegues.
That is once you find it. Wish us happy hunting
This is what the machine looks like when it works.
03 May, 2016
What do you do as you wait to count your frozen buds?
Well, Alain ¨has installed white thread wires in the plot of Pinot Meunier in Loisy-en-Brie.
White wires, silver wires
In the picture, you can see them in the low part of the lines of vines.
They are the white ones whereas the other wires are silver.
This work is not just to stay occupied.
White wires for control
The idea of these white lines is as well as the other wires that you lift them when the moment is due, you fasten them on the posts and this will bring branches back to a more centered position along the line of vines.
After frost, there is a tendency that branches develop at all times, to grow in all directions, and with the low wire you can manage them a bit more easily. According to theory anyway.