Our vine plants are ordered from specialized plant nurseries.
For the last few years, we have been calling upon an external company for the plantation. New tools developed these last years allow a precise and quality work.
The whole roots of the plant are buried in the ground : regrowth rates are excellent.
The vine is a liana. It should therfore be given a "skeleton" that is able to support it and guide its growth. The purpose of trellissing is to stretch out strings between the stakes.
At the Mas d'Intras, the end stakes (at the end of the rows) are always made out of wood, which is so much prettier ! However, our central stakes are made of metal, as they are much easier to work with !
The stake guides the vine-stock upwards, to create the trellised base of the vine.
For the still fragile young vines, this prop provides :
Once the vine is sufficiently tall, we tie it to the carrying wire with the help of a tendril binder.
We leave one bud above the tie that will act as a sap-drawer and will, as it grows, strengthen the tie between the base of the vine and the wire.
Pruning helps :
To facilitate the manual pruning, we couple a pre-pruning tool to our tractor that cuts the vine shoots about 30 centimeters above the ground.
The manual pruning is done with the help of electric shears, that run on a little battery located on the vinegrower's back. According to the grape variety, it takes between 5 and 10 cuts to prune a base.
This is a job that starts as soon as the leaves start falling off, and goes on for about 4 months.
Once the pruning is over, the wires are once again streched out. The trelissing is repaired where it has given way. The quad is perfectly suited for this job, as it moves around easily from one row to the next.
However, nothing is better than a good pair of shoes to drop the tying-up wires ! We "drop" these wires by unhooking the center stakes until the vines have developed.
A vine-shoot is a non-fruit-bearing twig that grows on the base of the vine. Removing these shoots enables to :
According to the grape variety, 2 to 3 passages are necessary.
It's a long and difficult job that must be be done thouroughly in order to limit the wounds brought about the base, and guarantee the plot's good health.
From April through July, the branches grow every day. So as to not be broken by the Mistral, they must be held up. The tying-up work consists in tying the center stakes to the tying-up wires located on each side of the row.
The branches are thus kept in close ranks between the wires. This has a number of advantages :
The tip of the branches is cut by a machine coupled to the tractor.
Like for the removal of excess shoots, this operation must be renewned 3 to 5 times per plot, between April and July.
The grapes are too abundant for the strength of a young vine stock that is less than 6 years old. It is appropriate to cut and make the superfluous grapes fall off.
As for the older vines this limits the production, airs, and spreads out the grapes.
This is a long and difficult job, but the results are visible in terms of the vine stock's health and of the quality of the wine.
Thining out the leaves consists in removing all or a part of the vine's leaves that are located on the fruit-bearing part of the vine.
This has several purposes :
We thin out the leaves on the side of the morning sun to limit risks of burning, and to favorise the proper drying of the dew.
During the ripening, the grape's acidity decreases while the sugar level increases. This is due to the sun, and to the photosynthesis.
As harvesting time approaches, samples of the grapes are methodically removed from each plot in order to analyse the sugar and acidity contents. We keep track of the ripening 2 or 3 times a week in order to decide when the time is best for the harvest.
Harvesting a well-balanced and ripe grape at the right moment ensures a naturally stable wine.
The ripeness of the grapes and the weather conditions determine the best date to harvest the grapes.
Harvesting with a mechanical harvester is quick done, and therefore allows a more flexible use.
Bought with other winegrowers, we plan our harvests at the best possible time, and respond swiftly to the weather's whims.
A manual harvest requires rallying a team of vinegrowers at the last moment : we must be many to harvest rapidly.
This constraint is justified on some of the plots or grape varieties by the vinification process applied later on.