Our expertise

Vineyard work

The development of a vine throughout the year is punctuated by key stages. Their precise monitoring is essential for efficient technical management.

It makes it possible to know the relative precocity of each plot, to determine and precisely position, the intervention of manual or mechanical operations necessary.

The seasons of the vine

Tableau présentant les travaux de la vigne en fonction des saisons
Pruning: from December to February
It takes place according to several factors; the geographical exposure of the vines, their resistance to frost, their age, their grape variety, vigour and production objectives.

Guyot Simple pruning technique is used at Château Penin. That is to say a smaller Courson is left on one side and a longer fruit bearing branch with 5 buttons on the other. The courson of the year should be chosen with great care because it is from it that the branch of the next year will be selected.

To improve working conditions and avoid musculoskeletal disorders, pruning shears operate on an electric battery. They reduce the arduousness of the job. In addition, the vines are installed at a height of 60 cm for a better working posture.
Vine clipping removal: January to February
Logical continuation after pruning, the vine clipping removal, commonly called in the region "pulling the woods", consists in removing from the trellises all the branches that have been cut from the pruned vines.

At Château Penin, we chose to place the branches on the ground in the middle of the row of vines and to mulch them.

This environmentally friendly method is of great agronomic interest because the wood of the vine restores to the soil all the organic and mineral elements it contains.
Canopy training maintenance: from February to March
Consists of maintaining the vine training facilities.

Retightening or changing the wires that support the vegetation, checking the condition of the stakes and replacing them if necessary, so that the vines are properly maintained when the vegetation is at its peak.
Ground management and ploughing: March to July and October
Scarification of the soil to aerate and facilitate microbial life and / or ploughing to destroy competing weeds of the vine.
Mowing: March / April - June / July
The presence of grass in the rows is timely. The objectives are multiple; to provide sufficient lift for the passage of the tractor, limit soil erosion,runoff and leaching, compet with the vines to regulate vigour and health.

In Château Penin, this method of soil conservation, practiced since 1995, has made it possible to maximize the microbial life of the soils.
Tying down: from February to March
This job consists of attaching the fruit cane (longer branch left during pruning) to the bottom wire of the trellis system. This will spread and concentrate the location of future bunches along the row. Also, it allows for better maturity and ease of harvest.

At Château Penin, we have mechanized this manual work using an electric tying machine that works on battery. The tie used is biodegradable.
Bud break: April
With spring it is the beginning of the vegetative cycle of the vine

Bud burst: this is when the sap produces such strong pressure under the buds that they burst, develop and open. It marks the end of the winter dormant period; the season begins.

For us this is a time of great uncertainty because although the days can be hot and sunny, the mornings can also be very cold. Morning frosts can wipe out an entire harvest.
Planting and replanting: month of May
Before a vine produces fruit, it takes three years to anchor its roots firmly in the ground. Three years during which we intervene to prepare the future vine:

Preparing soil: it is necessary to plough in depth (50cm), to loosen the soil before planting.
Provide mineral elements to enrich the soil. At Château Penin, we spread organic amendments.
Trellis: installing the system of stakes and wires between which the vines will grow. It is usually set up a year after planting, before the next year's growth.
De-shooting: April to May
This is to prevent the proliferation of young branches (suckers) that have grown naturally on the trunk or the bottom of the vines.

These branches are removed because they are infertile or not very fruitful and their maintenance would drain the food necessary for the good development of the plant. The shoots are removed for better production control and the greater aeration of future grapes.
Lifting: May to June
We pass through the vines lift and attach the lifting wires. In doing so all the growth is supported vertically and creates a long and tidy hedge.

The surface area of each vine is optimised in leaf area which is the source of food for the grapes through photosynthesis.
Flowering: early June
It corresponds to the appearance of flowers on the bunches.These inflorescences will form future grapes. Flowering lasts between 7 and 15 days depending on the grape variety and the climatology. The vine is very sensitive to climatic changes when it is in flower.

Cold and rain can interfere with flowering and prevent the formation of grapes. Up to 80% of the crop can be lost, this is called coulure.
Trimming or topping: from June to August
This operation is mechanized. It follows directly the lifting work and continues almost until the harvest. Vegetation regrowth is kept inside the trellis by this regular cutting work.

Due to this bunches are not smothered and can benefit from a good amount of sunshine essential for a good maturity.
Veraison: month of August
The stage of grape ripening where red grapes begin to pigment and white grapes tenderize and become translucent. During this phase, the colour changes and the amount of acidity decreases, while that of sugar increases.

In addition, new phenolic compounds are being developed, in particular tannins, colouring and flavours. There is an average of 45 days between mid-Veraison and the start of the harvest.
Leaf stripping: July
At Château Penin, leaf stripping is carried out in a mechanical and targeted manner. This consists of removing leaves in front of the grapes from the rising sun side of the row. The morning sun is less strong, it is not likely to scorch the bunches, and it dries up the humidity of the night, which can cause rot to develop.

This work also improves the synthesis of polyphenols
(tannins, anthocyanins) in red grapes, increases fruity notes and decreases vegetal aromas.
Green harvest or thinning: July
This operation consists of cutting off some selected grapes to facilitate the maturation of the remaining bunches in order to reduce the yield of a harvest.

The second level bunches are cut manually, to promote the growth of those at the base.