Choisis ta vigne de bon plant, et ta femme de bonne mère.
The trellis system (fil palisseur) is an essential part of the infrastructure of the new vine plantation. A balance of fruit development with the amount of the energy producing parts of the vine, the leaves, will allow a growth of grapes which will ripen fully. So the aim is not to have too many leaves creating a canopy that is thick and crowded, and will trap the moisture. An open canopy will facilitate ripening of the fruit by exposure the leaves to the sun. Also the grapes and leaves will dry after rain, or dew, so reducing the risk of mildew and other diseases (as to which more later).
Gilles has chosen to use galvanised steel posts (picquets) for the new vineyard, with the angled end posts (piquets de tête) also in steel. Each end post is positioned at an angle of about 20 to 30° from vertical, and a wire runs from the end post to an earth anchor, to keep the wires trained on the trellis system taut and strong. Two main wires run along the full length of the trellis. The lower wire is a heavier duty one and is called the “porteur”, as it will carry the mature branches of the vines, so it has to be stronger. The upper one will be used to train the growing shoots. There is an additional wire that is slacker than the others, and so is flexible enough to be used to lift the vegetation of the mature vine to the top of the canopy:
Again it is the sturdy tractor that is used to lay and stretch the galvanised steel fruiting wires along the full length of the rows (the tension of the wire is held by the earth anchor). Here Gilles and Clement Foussat work the tractor to put in place the wires:
My grandson, Zac, captured the scene artistically this morning: