It is no doubt in this aspect that we are the most traditional in the good sense of the term: we carry out this whole phase by hand, as wine growers used to do before the all-machine trend. Modern practicality drew many growers away from this wise and reasoned tradition for economic reasons, namely labour costs.
The disbudding phase consists in eliminating all the stems and branches that hamper the bunches of grapes, they favour ventilation and grape maturation while considerably diminishing disease hazard. Moreover, they enhance colour, structure and rich aromas. This is a slow, tedious job that requires considerable time and man labour.
Green harvesting aims at cutting down the number of grape bunches when in excess. The task team can be just as large as the one actually harvesting in fall; these drastic measures control our yield, between 25 and 45 hl/ per hectare, depending on the vintage.
Pollarding, normally carried out to reduce the effect of wind intake from the frightening mistral [S1], is reduced to strict necessity, sometimes even given up altogether for Mourvèdre, to keep the maximum possible leafing.
Thinning : leaves hiding clusters are removed, improving ventilation and berry maturation. This reduces the risk of disease and increases berry concentration. This task is carried out manually over a few weeks.
[S1] mistral : extremely violent wind that comes from the North of the Rhone Valley