Viticulture is a very important part of winemaking. Many would say the most important part, believing that wines are made in the vineyard, not in the cellar.
I have therefore decided to take a closer look at different viticultural practices while I walk and bike through the vineyards.
This article looks at a small, but necessary, issue when a vigneron decides to use the new style of trellising in Burgundy with high vineyard poles – i.e. 160 cm or even 180 cm, versus the traditional 80-100 cm.
Nuits-Saint-Georges – tractor rows
In the vineyards spreading out from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Vosne-Romanee, and even south of the village one finds examples of this “new” high-trellis system.
But the higher trellising demands some adaptations of traditional viticultural practices, some of which might not appear obvious.
The tractor rows
In the photo below of the NSG vineyard Les Procès we see the post extensions that have been put in place to support the higher trellising.
These are much higher than the regular posts used in Burgundy, and hence they will prevent the use of regular straddle tractors (“enjambeurs”) in this vineyard. The ubiquitous enjambeurs have a maximum passage height of around 120 cm.
To still be able to use the tractors to some extent, in this case Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux has left lower-height “tractor rows,” where the tractor can pass in a normal way, with its wheels in each row beside the lower posts.
Five high-trellis rows with extended poles alternate with a regular-height row, allowing a tractor to cover six rows at a time via spray units that hang in the middle of each row from supporting overhead arms (see below for a larger view).
And this is how the cookie crumbles in Nuits!