The production of a good wine begins in our French vineyards, where winegrowers use various techniques to ensure the growth of quality grapes. Among the different stages of vine cultivation, destemming begins in June, and guides the grapes to maturity. Focus on the deseeding of the vines .
Stemming: spring pruning of the vines
The winegrower's objective is to bring his vines to maturity , in order to produce a quality wine. This involves the traditional pruning of the vines, carried out in winter, but did you know that there is also pruning in spring? This is called desepamprage.
It is then a matter of removing all the unwanted branches , also called vines, which grew during the spring. Whether they are poorly positioned or duplicated, they are eliminated to allow the vine to concentrate all its energy on good quality branches. The winegrower then works to strip different parts of the vine:
- The gourmands : all the branches which develop at the foot of the vine, and which come from old wood;
- Unproductive branches : all branches that do not bear flowers;
- Double or triple branches : all the branches coming from the same bud are cut to keep only the most vigorous.
Stripping the vines: when is the ideal time?
The objective of stemming is to allow the vine to put all its energy and vigor into the maturation of the most beautiful branches . It is therefore necessary to carry out de-stemming when the vegetative cycle of the vine accelerates, in other words, when the sun and heat reappear.
Stemming therefore generally begins in mid-May or early June, when the stems are 10 to 30 cm, and are therefore still easy to cut. The winegrowers then take care of breaking the vines, or tearing them up at the base.
Some professionals decide to wait until summer to deseed their vines, and others carry out a second deseeding in summer. It depends on the vigor of the vine.
Why should vines be pruned?
If winegrowers work vine by vine to remove the vines, it is because they can ultimately cause diseases . Indeed, if they are not cut, they will end up reaching the top of the foliage, and potentially contaminating it, especially if they receive splashes of earth during heavy rains.
Furthermore, cutting the branches of the vines helps restore vigor to the vine , as is done for most fruit trees.
The different techniques for removing vines
Nowadays, winegrowers have several techniques at their disposal to deseed their vines.
Manual deseeding requires only human hands. Equipped with a mini billhook or pruning shears, the professional passes through the rows of the vines, and cuts dead vines and other sterile branches by hand. Although this technique meets the values of practicing sustainable viticulture, it nevertheless requires a lot of labor and is very costly, both in terms of money and time.
To facilitate the deseeding which takes place between budburst and flowering, the winegrower can choose to use mechanical deseeding . This involves covering with machines that operate by pulling out or rubbing the vine shoots. If the mechanical desemper has the advantage of going quickly, with little labor, it can sometimes weaken the soil and the passages could weaken the vine.
Removal of unwanted branches can also be done by chemical removal . This involves applying a desiccant, a chemical product usually used as a herbicide, to the vines. Quite effective, this technique is meeting less and less success, as more and more winegrowers limit the use of chemicals. This destamping technique is also prohibited for the manufacture of organic wine, biodynamic wine, or even natural wine.
Other green work on the vines
In a vineyard, there is a lot of green work throughout the year, and deseeding is only one stage. We then distinguish many other horticultural techniques to apply:
- Disbudding , to remove certain buds and keep the most promising;
- Trellising and lifting , to prevent vegetation from falling to the ground;
- Topping , or trimming , to eliminate the buds from the buds;
- Leaf stripping , to facilitate the impregnation of vine treatments and thin out the vegetation.
You were perhaps wondering what the winegrower's missions were before reaching the final stage of the harvest? The deseeding of the vines is one of the many tasks incumbent on the winegrowers of the Berne estate and of all winegrowers around the world.