Wednesday, March 09, 2011

More scenes from the winter vineyard

The vineyards' transition from winter to spring is accelerating. The buds on the vines are fattening up, and more and more parcels are getting pruned. That makes the vineyards look neat and clean. Old posts are being ripped out and replaced with new ones. New vines are being planted in spots where old ones have died.

You can see how the land slopes toward deep gullies. Trees grow along the streams that drain directly the to the river.

This picture is taken way out toward the end of our dirt road. It's looking roughly west to where the vines begin to give way to forest and other crop lands. The vines are planted on the heights above the river valley for, I believe, the good drainage that the land provides. Most vineyard land in France is found along rivers. That's why you often see wine labels with the word côtes or côteaux on them. For example, Côtes du Rhône means "the banks of the Rhône River."

This style of planting is different from that practiced in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys of California where many vineyards are planted on the flat valley floors. Those places have little or no precipitation in the growing season, so drainage is not much of an issue there. In fact, many California vineyards have to be irrigated, something that is not permitted in France.

6 comments:

  1. I learned something new about grapes today. You will probably be busy but I hope it won't be too lonely without Ken.

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  2. Most interesting. I didn't know vines can't be irrigated in France. Does it impact the flavor; what's the logic?

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  3. And I never knew what the word côtes meant, thank you!

    BettyAnn

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  4. I learned something (again). Thanks, Walt. Nice photo!

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  5. Isn't it great to see a little color after the dull grayness of winter?

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  6. Watching the vineyard must be so rewarding - you hardly need a calendar to tell you what month it is. Just look at the vines and see what is happening out there.

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