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The cycle of the vine

We are always talking about Champagne Cuvées. Today, we want to take you with us to the vineyards, where it all begins!

What is happening now in the vineyards? What are the winemakers doing in this period?

We are currently between two important stages of the vine: leafing and flowering.

We will see together in detail the cycle of life of the vine and the work of patience, vigilance and passion that the wine grower carries out throughout the year.

The vine in its wild state is like a liana of the jungle which develops in an anarchic way. To produce grapes, it must be domesticated and go through various stages of development that will influence the quality of the harvest.

Its development follows 2 distinct cycles:

- the winter cycle: it is the stage of the vegetative rest of the vine, which begins in the middle of November and which stops in March.

- the vegetative cycle: it is the life cycle of the vine which extends from March to mid-November and which includes the reproductive cycle.

1 - BEGINNING OF SPRING - THE WEEPING  

We are in spring. It is at this stage that the annual vegetative cycle begins. The vine has been pruned during the winter, during its vegetative rest, which has left cutting wounds at the end of the shoots. At the first warming of the soil, the sap starts to flow in the plant and arrives at the end of the shoots where it drips at the level of the wounds not yet healed. This indicates to the winegrower the resumption of the activity of the root system.

2 - END OF MARCH - APRIL - BUDBURST

Along the shoots, the buds, also called eyes, can be seen. The bud consists of a protective envelope formed during the winter. At its tip is a protective cotton that has a woolly appearance. This is known as the "cotton bud". Each bud contains a main bud, a secondary bud, the outline of the clusters and the leaves.

After the healing of the pruning wounds, the circulatory system of the plant is under tension. This tension, associated with the effects of humidity and temperature (at least around 10°C), favor the swelling of the buds. A green tip appears at the end of the buds which eventually split. The protective scales spread and reject the "bud", which is the very fine shoot from which the new leaves will emerge. This is the budburst. The leaves appear first, followed by the flower clusters. The buds remain very sensitive to spring frosts.

At the moment when the vine has young shoots, the winegrower proceeds to the ploughing of the soil which has remained compact since the autumn. It allows to aerate, to warm up and to remodel the soil which also warms up the roots of the vine and facilitates the budding.

This softening of the soil is beneficial to the growth of deep roots. Knowing that the deep roots take characteristic nutrients from the subsoil, it also favors the expression of the terroir typicity.

3 - APRIL - LEAFING

The eyes, or buds, turn into new shoots and the leaves begin to develop: they appear, unfurl and spread out.

Leaves are vital organs of the vine. They are the seat of photosynthesis. The month of April also sees the beginning of the growth of the branches.

4 - APRIL, MAY - THE EMERGENCE OF THE BUNCHES

The soil warms up. At this stage, the inflorescences appear. They correspond to the future bunches and are composed of flower buds that only need to grow and blossom. They remain however sensitive to spring frosts.

The exit of the bunches accompanies the development of the leaves.

The winegrower removes the non-fruiting buds and the double buds as well as the infertile branches that have developed on the lower part of the vine and proceeds to the care of the vine.

5 - JUNE - THE FLOWERING

The heat and the sun are more present and small white flowers appear. Each bunch will carry between 100 and 200 flowers.

The flowering generally takes place eight weeks after the budburst and lasts from eight to fifteen days. The vine flower has the particularity to open from the bottom, contrary to the other flowers which open in corolla.

The quality of the flowering informs the winegrower on the volume of the harvest to come. There is a rule of thumb to determine the date of the harvest from the date of flowering: the 100-day rule!

It corresponds, to the nearest 10 days, to the number of days between the date of the half-flowering and the date of the grape harvest.

Finally, it should be noted that flowering is accompanied by the growth of the branches which can reach 5 cm per day in hot and humid periods.

The winegrower proceeds to the lifting of the wires which consists in positioning the young branches upwards. This operation will allow a good distribution of the foliage and facilitate both the following work and the controlled growth of the vine.

After this first walk in the vineyard, enjoy yourself by tasting our Coffret Gastronomy and visit our online store for all the other Cuvées of our Collection!!

Cin cin et à votre santé!

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