See those little bits of red wood sticking out of the ground? Look at them a little closer. They would appear to be just some useless pieces of twigs. But these bits of wood are planted dreams, a parcel of dreams. What will they give us ? I don’t know yet, but I can explain how it all started.
It’s at the end of winter that we start planting a new parcel. We are constructing the future of our vineyard, because it will only give its best to our future generations. At a family estate, such as ours, this part of our work is an enormous responsibility.
Once a parcel has been selected, the new vineyard has to be planned out at least two years in advance (even five years if we’re planting on a previous vineyard). The land has to be cleared of all root systems and the soil must be analysed in order to pick the ideal combination of rootstock and varietal. So we get a backhoe and dig exploratory trenches at strategic locations throughout the site. I want to know the composition of my soil’s layers, what’s it’s water holding capacity, is it well drained, what’s it fertility, it’s pH, etc…) . All of these factors will have an impact on what varietal and, above all, which rootstock I choose for the vineyard.
The plantings have to be ordered a year in advance so that the vineyard nurseries we work with can graft and prepare the combination varietal/rootstock that we’ve chosen based on the terroir and the kind of wine we want to make. And since the density of the plantation will influence the vigour of the plants, we also need to determine how close we’ll be planting so that we order the exact number of vines.
Once the soil is ready, not to dry nor to humid, it’s time to plant. Today, technology makes our life easier with a GPS guided machine that gives us an incredible consistency of planting.
If rain isn’t forth coming, then each vine has to be watered so that the soil wraps well around its root system and hydrates the young vine.
Then if the vineyard is to be trellised, next comes stakes, anchors, and wires that help the vines to set in. In its first year, the new vineyard receives a lot of attention and this is crucial because, just like a newborn, these young plants need us to take care of them. Pinching, tutoring, hoeing, etc… are frequent in a young vineyard. A well prepared soil and healthy plants will give a deep root system. The first few years of a vineyard will determine the quality of its grapes as well as the longevity of the vines. Nature’s laws are inexorable even when we are building dreams.