At last we have had a couple of cold and frosty mornings here in the Loire. I say at last because although it has been rather lovely not to have had a harsh, cold winter until now, from a vineyard perspective, we like a good dose of icy weather.
Vines become dormant when the temperature drops below 10°C. The sap in the plant starts to descend and it goes into ‘hibernation’ over the winter months, storing all it’s energy for the hard work the following season. A really cold snap (well below freezing) is a great thing for vines. It helps kill off those nasty fungal diseases that fester quietly in the damp warm weather and are proving to be such a problem in today’s vineyards.
Some growers start pruning their vines soon after harvest but the canny producers wait and bide their time. They won’t be rushing out there with their secateurs in a hurry but will wait (normally until January) before tackling this task (probably the most important one of all in the vineyard).
So now’s the time, with the ground crisp and white and a clear blue sky.