The culture of a so strong and so undisciplined plant as the vineyard is a challenge.
In the wild state, the vineyard is a liana which, as the ivy for example, crawls on the ground in search of a headland (a tree, a rock…) in which it’s going to hang on to reach its summit and the light as to be able to bloom and fruit.
To insure a satisfactory production of grapes – in quality and in quantity – this exuberant vineyard must be thus cut severely every year.
The “taille de formation” (or disbudding) is practised in autumn, immediately after the fall of leaves or at the end of the winter, just before “le débourrement*”. It allows to structure well the development of the plant. Shortest is the size, the more the foot will grow again strongly.
Made at a moment when the vineyard – reduced to its foot and to its simplest expression – seem easy-to-work, the size is in reality a major moment – otherwise the most important – of the annual work of the vineyard.
Because of the quality of its realization depends the production of the year, but also that of the next years. It is indeed important to adapt exactly the future load in buds to the vigour of every stock.
The size so stays one of these moments during which the human being (and only the human being : with the grape harvests, the size is one of last interventions not mechanized on the vineyard of Champagne) operates its know-how and has no right to make mistakes.
Besides, to face the diseases of the wood, the House Mater and Filii gave up the idea of a miracle treatment and reconsidered the cultural conditions which favor the development the aforementioned diseases.
It is thus important to identify and to transmit knowledges of size which respect an agro-ecological approach, that is, here, preventive in front of diseases of the wood.
This transmission of the knowledges crosses by the theoretical training, naturally, but also and especially by the accompaniment of the “anciens”(“olders”), those who enough cut the vineyard to know about what they speak.
Examples in pictures …
* Moment of the year when the vegetative and floral buds develop to let appear their filling (that is the down and the young leaves and the flowers buried in buds) then their leaves and flowers.