Champagne: The Grape Clusters are Starting to Appear

Reims, 17 April 2020

Buds of vines and grapes near Épernay

Spring forges ahead and the weather is warm and dry. The vegetative cycle of the vines in Champagne continues its movement. After bleeding and budburst, now is the stage where the leaves develop and the first clusters form.

Isabelle Tellier, Head Wine-Maker of the House of Chanoine, tells us what she sees as she walks through the vineyards: “Things are evolving very quickly this year; leafing-out is well under way and the warm weather encourages growth. Clusters are starting to appear. Of course, the vines are at different stages depending on geographical area and grape variety. In general, Chardonnay is the earliest variety to develop, followed by Pinot Noir. Pinot Meunier is the latest-developing variety.”

17 April, Pinot Meunier, with its cottony white leaves and pink-tipped white buds - photos Isabelle Tellier

Work in the vineyards follows nature’s rhythm. Tying-up, done just after the pruning of the vines, has already been completed. It consists in attaching the vine shoots to the supporting wires; each cane is attached to a wire, depending on how the vine has been pruned. Tying-up ensures that the vines grow straight and vertical, keeping them from dropping down close to the ground. This makes the vines easier to control and to work on, which encourages growth.

Desuckering, the next stage of work in the vineyards — which consists in removing any buds from the vines that will not produce fruit —, will probably take place early, in late April or early May instead of mid-May.

Isabelle Tellier, Chef de cave

“The House of Chanoine Frères have come far, look far and are going far”

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