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Champagne: The vines have begun bleeding

Reims, 25 March 2020

25 March, first wine buds near Épernay

In spite of everything, life goes on. And in the vineyards nature is at work. And this year, her work has even begun early.

Spring is here, good weather has arrived, and temperatures are increasing.

The vines have awakened from their winter sleep, and the annual vegetative cycle has begun.

Now that the task of pruning the vines is complete, bleeding (called les pleurs in French) is already well under way in certain sectors of Champagne.

The sap has risen in the vines and reached the tips of the canes, where it bleeds or “weeps” out. During this process, each plant may lose between 0.5 and 4 liters of sap. The loss depends on the period and the number of wounds made during pruning.

Budburst — that is, the start of development of the buds — is imminent or has already begun in certain sectors; it is some fourteen days early this year.

At budburst, the protective scales or bourres covering the buds move aside and the buds swell into young shoots.

In the Côte des Blancs, in the commune of Bethon, where growth is precocious, the first leaves have already been observed, whereas around Épernay the progress of leafing-out is less advanced.

25 March, early wine leaves, Bethon, Côte des Blancs

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