The winter season is a period of tidying up in the vineyards, cutting away the dead wood of the previous harvest to leave a few of the healthiest buds for this year's growth.
An unrestricted vine may produce a lot of fruit, but it can result in many tiny grapes that will find it hard to ripen. Historically, growers have found that vines respond well to a good, hard prune. Grapes develop as new growth from last year’s wood so most pruning methods involved cutting back the shoots of the previous vintage leaving the main framework of the vine. Cutting back or pruning this framework annually ensures new, strong, fruit-bearing shoots that will appear every year.
Laurent has started experimenting with pruning, where he has left certain vineyard plots wild, with no pruning. There have been some very interesting results where the vine grows very full and tall but eventually appears to do its own “green-harvesting” , where the smaller or less healthy bunches die off and eventually fall to the ground, leaving healthy bunches to ripen well. This bodes well for the future, as pruning is very intensive work that must be done by hand. We’ll keep you posted!