The Vines

Planting

The age of the Château La Borie vineyards varies from 5 years for the most recent plantings, to over 20 years for the older vines. Click on the image below to visualize the corresponding cadastral plan.PhotoPlantierCailloux2WP

At the end of April, beginning of May we begin planting the plots which have been laid out the previous year.
Planting density is 4.040 plants per hectare.
The rows are spaced 2.25 meters apart, and each plant is spaced 1.10 meters in the row.

Pruning

Pruning begins in early November and is terminated in early March.
The vines are pre-pruned mechanically to facilitate the work of the pruners.
The vines are trained on wires, thus the hosen pruning method is « cordon de royat ».
Vineyard employees use automatic battery operated hand-pruners to make the repetitive process less painful.

The vine shoots are turned into beneficial mulch on site using a shredder.

To give you an idea of the size of the task, here is a little mathematical exercise: multiply 4.040 vines by the total size of the domain of 75 hectares, to obtain 300 000 vines, each with an average of 12 shoots to prune, or a total of 3.600.000 cuts! (although in truth it is closer to twice that!).

Trellising

The vineyards are trained on wires which help maintain the vine and improve production quality.
We have opted for metal pickets 1,80 meters high, pierced every 10 centimeters, which allows us to adjust the height of the support wires. The pickets are planted in the soil with the help of a stake driver mounted on a tractor. The wires are unwound in multiples of 4 by tractor. The training wires are mobile; they are raised mechanically in May and lowered during pruning.

Tying

Strong winds dominate our region, called « le Mistral, thus it is indispensable to tie the young vine shoot to the wire trellis. This process is done manually between the months of March and July.

The soil

Breaking in the land

In springtime, we prepare the plots that will be planted the following year. We do this by turning over the soil and plowing 80 cm deep to fertilize. At the same time we remove the largest rocks and any roots that have been left in the ground. This is a very important step because it is the foundation for future healthy vineyards.

Mechanical plowing

PhotoVignes2WPPlowing in the vineyards is carried out regularly from February to August. It is essential to air out and loosen the soil, as well as for removing weeds and retaining rainwater.

Old timers say that one plowing is worth two irrigations. We use special plows which turn the soil between each plant, thus avoiding the use of chemical weed killers.

Fertilizing

During winter, approximately 600 tons of lavender straw, sourced from a nearby distillery, are spread out in the vineyards. This important addition of organic matter helps in the development of the vine plant. Mineral fertilizer (potassium and magnesium) allows us to replace annually what the plant has absorbed.

Careful observation of the plants during their growing cycle allows us to optimize the use of fertilizers, adding only what is necessary to the plant’s healthy growth.

Replacing missing plants

During the month of February, we regularly replace vine plants that have died for various reasons (mechanical destruction, lightening, disease). Replacing missing plants also avoids putting too much pressure on the remaining productive vines.

Pulling out the root stocks

In October, we pull out the vines we have decided to replant. These plots rest for a minimum of 5 years. During this time we use the land for rotating other crops.