The art of wine-growing

Soil management

In winter the vineyards become bare. The ground and the structure of the vine are what catch our eye. Sometimes, the geological nature of the soil, such as the pebbles of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, form the essential part of the vineyard panorama.
The winter and spring vegetation enriches the aesthetic of the vineyards with a carpet of green plants, dotted with flowers. This reveals the local biodiversity.
The wine-grower’s cultivation choices integrate diverse elements – control over encroaching, self-propagating plants, limiting their competition for water and nutrients, while ensuring soil stability in threatening conditions of intense rainfall.
Manual methods (hoe or plough) have often been abandoned in favour of chemical weed-killing, which makes the job less arduous and costly. But the environmental imperatives, particularly relating to the dangers of water run-off and erosion, plead in favour of maintaining ground cover. Natural or planted grass cover, often on every second row, in order to reduce competition for water and nitrogen, or sometimes bark or straw cover feature amongst sustainable soil management techniques.
Certain systems of vine raising in hollows surrounded by stone walls to protect the vine from the drying effects of the wind represent a heritage showing human know-how in a hostile natural context.