This morning I went for a wonderful walk among the vines at Bourdic with Henny & Christa. They've obviously been working like ants all Spring. Everywhere there were signs of industry.
Christa is busy taking out all the extra shoots from the vines. She carefully examines each one and pinches out all but the strongest shoots - much like one would do with tomatoes. She also checks carefully round the base of the pied, the trunk of the vine, to check there are no extra shoots, just like one does with roses to check there are no suckers. This is gardening on a grand, yet intimate scale. Each one of 53,200 pieds have to be tended with the utmost care. It's back-breaking, but the results are a work of real beauty.
As the young shoots push upwards special wires are brought down below them. Over time, as the vines and grapes grow, the wires are gently brought back up and hooked onto the upright posts. This has two main functions. Firstly, it serves to support the shoots with their increasingly heavy load, and secondly, it allows light to get to the grapes and the leaves. This sunshine works on the plant and increases the amount of sugar in the grapes. By lifting the leaves up and off the grapes it also allows the breeze to dry any moisture (from rain or dew) more rapidly, which prevents the grapes from spoiling.
We walked on to check the vines of people who have adopted them, many of which are on the highest slopes with the best of views.Whilst walking back down towards the domain we passed some very beautiful wild flowers such as these lovely irises: Domaine Bourdic was a hive of industry this morning.- people dropping in for wine, others wanting to talk about the forthcoming music festival (more later), and then there were the builders. Hans & Christa are creating an excellent new cave where future visitors will be able to taste the wines. Here's the progress so far: Just before I left I filled the boot with bottles of the divine new rosé which the lucky people booking in to Le Couvent will find in their rooms as a welcome.