Saturday, July 17, 2010

Views from the summer vineyards

The vineyards are green and lush this time of year, and especially this year due to the hot weather and rain. The growers are out there constantly with their tractors and trimming machines slicing off the new growth to force the vines' energy into grape production.

Neatly trimmed rows of grapevines hug the contours above the river.

It looks to me like there will be no shortage of grapes this year. I'm noticing lots of bunches everywhere. That means that as they get closer to harvest, the growers will begin lopping off bunches to rot on the ground. They do this because the A.O.C. requirements are strict about yields. I suspect it has to do with quality; too many grape clusters on a vine dilute the vine's ability to produce quality bunches. This is pure speculation on my part.

Looking east back toward our house from the vineyard.

I love the lush look of the summer vineyard. Especially after the trimming when the vines are all the same shape and size. It's like a huge green carpet laid down on the curves of the land. Actually, I love all the stages, from bare trunks in winter through the bright hues of autumn.

Swaths of tall grasses and wildflowers in between parcels.

As for those bunches left on the ground, we talked to one grower and he said we were welcome to them. That year, Ken picked up a few and made gamay jelly. It's a shame to see the grapes go to waste! Now, if only we could pick up enough to make our own wine... nah.


  1. Walt. Cutting off excess grapes in July and August is called a green harvest – vendange en vert. As you say the AC laws restrict the amount of wine that can may be made. Cutting off grapes is also intended to increase the quality – getting more concentrated juice from fewer bunches.

    Increasingly green harvesting is not felt to be the ideal solution better to reduce earlier – prune shorter and debud in the spring.

    This year in the Cher there was a big 'sortie' – lots of potential grapes. The difficult conditions during flowering probably reduced the crop a bit but from what you say not by that much.

    I'm never tempted to make wine – happy to leave that to those more competent.


  2. Are the farmers out there everyday working in the vineyards? This city boy thinks the place would be overgrown with weeds if not.

  3. you are partially correct -
    by concentrating grapes into only so many, it betters the grapes that remain, and make better wine.
    The other element is cost/supply. Too much wine, even good wine, lowers the price too much.

  4. OK enough suspense - red or white grapes from a few postings ago????


  5. vtt, yup!

    jim, thanks! I had not heard the term "vendange en vert" before. And I'm with you on the making of wine. The pros do such a fine job. ;)

    jean, merci.

    starman, they're pretty much out there every day doing something.

    michael, wine economics. :)

    dale, it's too soon (for me) to tell. I'm sure more knowledgeable people can tell from just from looking at the leaves.


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