Saint-Estèphe

In the vineyard...

Tying-up and trellissing: operations that consist of inserting the shoots between the vine foliage lifters.

The purpose of trellising is to support the vegetation by ensuring the aeration of the grapes and an ideal exposure. This technique makes it possible to avoid any pile-up of vegetation that would harm the growth of the grapes.

Illustration: Lucien Arlaud, extrait de Rouge Bordeaux Couleur Locale.

Leaf stripping consists of removing old leaves (called "senescent") to promote illuminance and aeration of the bunches. This allows a better maturation of the berries and reduces the risk of the appearance of certain cryptogamic diseases. Leaf removal can be done manually or mechanized.

Carried out manually, the leaf stripping of the vine requires a significant amount of labour time and therefore entails very high costs. This technique is made profitable by the time saved by mechanization compared to manual leaf stripping.

Château Montrose: final stripping before harvest...

...the grapes are enjoying the last rays of sunshine.

As soon as the harvest is over, the winegrower must not rest on his vine shoots. The ploughing awaits him. More specifically, earthing-up consists of bringing earth to the base of the vine stocks to protect them from humidity, extreme cold and even winter frosts.

It is the first work of the fall. Will follow the pre-pruning

We can also use the words: hilling up or butting.


Pruning-knife: as the name suggest, it is a small bill-hook. It is the essential tool for the cutter (with his basket) that looks like a small knife with a curved blade (see photo opposite)

In recent years, it has been preferred the pruning shears, which some consider simpler to use.

After pruning, the winemaker accompanies the growth of the vine by binding the vine to the trellising thread by a wicker stem called vîme. Flexible at the time of acanage (fixing a vine to a post), the vîme dehydrates and then solidifies to maintain the foot and thus avoid injuring it.

The vîme is a small branch of wicker (Salix vimanis) that is split to create links to tie the vines to the stakes. 

The acanage is the gesture consisting in attaching the vine stock to the acacia wood stake and in maintaining the astes (fruit branches preserved on a vine stock) of the vine stock in order to direct their growth in the right direction.



Shoot thinning consists in removing non-fruiting shoots (also called “lateral shoots” or “suckers”) from the vine. The aim is to control grape production, retaining the shoots that will give rise to the future bunches, while also ensuring good ventilation of the fruiting zone to minimise the risk of disease.

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