The leaves have fallen and pruning of the vines has begun in the Champagne vineyards. According to Isabelle Tellier, Head Wine-Maker of the House of Chanoine Frères, “After the harvest, when the vines are resting, pruning is a vital process that determines the quality of the future grapes. It influences the vigor and fertility of the vines.”
Isabelle Tellier goes on: “Pruning the vines is nothing short of an art in the Champagne. Observation, reflection and intuition all play a part. The goal is to give preference to certain shoots and certain branches of the vines and cut back the others. The winegrowers themselves are involved in the pruning process, which is regulated in the Champagne; only holders of a training certificate may prune the vines. The work is time-consuming and meticulous, and entirely done by hand; winegrowers prune approximately 350 vines per day. At that rate, it takes five weeks to prune one hectare.”
Pruning continues until mid-March and stops only when temperatures are extremely low. Then spring arrives and the vines awaken from their dormancy.