After the harvest, the vine will lose its leaves, leaving the field free for the maintenance of the vine stock. The winter will be mainly devoted to pruning the vines.
Precise pruning procedures are not left to individual discretion, but have been regulated since 1938. It is the only AOC that regulates this area in such a stringent, detailed and comprehensive manner.
L’ébourgeonnage a lieu mi-mai. L’opération consiste à éliminer tous les bourgeons (dits “ gourmands ”) non fructifères qui poussent sur les vieilles charpentes et risquent de détourner la sève des bourgeons principaux.
At the end of May, the twigs grow up to 50 cm. At this point, it is necessary to raise them up and maintain them in this vertical position by means of lifting wires located approximately 30 cm above the support wires.
The trellising, which takes place in June, consists of separating the twigs from each other and keeping them in their order with wires and staples.
It prevents the leaves from being packed one on top of the other, so that they catch as much sunlight as possible and benefit from good aeration, preventing them from rotting.
Trimming is a “summer pruning”. It starts at the end of June-early July, before or after flowering and lasts until the harvest. We can talk about trimming, since the operation is done in a minimum of two stages and can go up to four.
It is harvest time, all those involved in the Champagne region are ready. The date is never set in advance, it is through observing the vine that it is decided. Often in September, it has also been known to take place in late August or early October.
Exclusively manual harvesting
Three quarters of Champagne wines are extracted from black grapes. To preserve their white colour, it is essential to avoid extracting the black colour present in the grape skins. This explains why the bunches of grapes must be picked whole and intact. They must arrive whole at the press, in special crates to prevent maceration.