Awakened by the start of spring, the vine gives all of its strength to the grapes during summer. It is a season that requires great attention and hard work from winegrowers, up until the culmination of a year’s work during harvest.
When the first flowers appear and the frost and grail of this chaotic and unpredictable spring are finally behind us, our partner winegrowers will start their summer work in the vineyards, with a whole series of tasks to accomplish in order to encourage the grapes’ development in the best possible conditions.
From the flowering process to harvesting the clusters of grapes, all steps are crucial for the future production of wine.
The flower buds can help us predict ahead of time the quality and quantity of the upcoming harvest. The vine stocks imperatively need to be free of all the unnecessary small branches and buds called “the suckers” that could harm the proper development of fruit-bearing branches. The winegrower generally keeps a spur with two buds and a branch of eight buds, a step technically called the suckering and disbudding. It is at this time that a choice is made to favor quality rather than quantity!
Once the vine has been cleaned, the clipping process may start, which consists of cutting the top of the vine with clippers. Labouré-Roi’s partner winegrowers ensure that their vines do not develop in a disorderly manner by practicing a precise, almost surgical, vine pruning.
It is now time to couple the branches by attaching them to the trellising wire in order to elevate them and maintain them in an upwards position and thus insure nice structure, good exposure, and an overall healthy development of the vine stocks.
The most meticulous winemakers will then apply what professionals from the field call the “green harvest”, which consists in selecting grapes in great detail and removing the green, surplus, grapes. This way, the less numerous grapes get better nourishment and are brought to optimal maturity.
Then comes the difficult choice of either stripping the vine of its leaves in order to remove the leaves on the sunny side and allow the heat to reach grape clusters or keeping them intact to protect the grapes from the sometimes very intense sunrays.
From Chablis to the South of France, and passing by the Beaujolais, each Domaine follows its own course and expresses its specific know-how, in collaboration with Brigitte, Labouré-Roi’s oenologist, while constantly striving to respect the terroir, the plant, and soils in order to obtain the best possible results come harvest time.
We do not know if the summer will be a hot one, but we do know that in the vines, it will be a hard-working one!