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End of the winter work in the vineyard in Chinon


The Discovery Experience Days for the 2014 vintage got under way last Saturday at Château de la Bonnelière in Chinon.  The aim of the day was to learn more about the work needed in the vineyard to produce the best possible grapes come harvest time. 

Wine Experience Gift in the Loire Valley, France

 

After an introduction by the winemaker, Marc Plouzeau, we headed out into the Clos de la Bonnelière, the vineyard where our adopted vines are to be found.  We took a few minutes to take some pictures and introduce ourselves to our vines!

 

Rent-a-vine in France. Original gift for a wine enthusiast

 

With the relatively mild winter, pruning has now finished across all of the winery's vineyards.  It's important to wrap up the pruning before the sap rises into the branches.  Marc explained how the vines are pruned to leave just one branch that will produce the fruit-bearing canes on one side, and a short branch on the other in preparation for the following year.

 

Pruning vines during the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

 

Once pruned, the cut branches need to be removed from the vines.  Marc had left us a few rows to do, so rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in!  The vines wrap themselves tightly around the training wires, so it's quite a physical job!

 

Removing the cut vine branches

 

We placed the branches in the middle of the rows where they will be crushed in-situ to return some nutrients to the soil when they decompose.

The next job is to bend the remaining branch on each vine until it is horizontal and then attach it to the training wire.  We worried about breaking the branches, but with a gentle touch we managed just fine!

 

Attaching the vine to the training wire

 

During the morning, Marc also explained the other work that will be carried out into the vineyard between now and harvest time, and we learnt that there is much more to be done than you would first think!

After our hard work, the aperitif was just reward!  We tasted one of the winery's sparkling wines, "Perles Fines", with some homemade goat's cheese and olive cake.  During the meal, we continued the wine tasting with some of the other white and red wines from the winery.

In the afternoon, Marc introduced us to the notion of biodynamic farming and showed us how he makes some of his biodynamic preparations.  He also showed us the range of tools and machines that he uses to work the vines and the soil.

 

The tools and machinery used to work the vines and soil

 

The day ended in the winery's cellar which is located directly underneath the Chinon Fortress.  Marc showed us where the wines are aged in oak barrels and also took the opportunity to turn his bottles of sparkling wine.

 

Turning the sparkling wine bottles in the cellar

 

Many thanks to all who participated in the day and to our passionate winemaker, Marc, for letting us in behind the scenes to discover what it's really like to be a winemaker!

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What to get the person that has everything ?

Adopt a Vine in France and Let Them Follow the Making of Their Own Wine !

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