The first half of 2016 has been a busy one so far on the Domaine Evremond estate. Patrick McGrath MW, Stephen Skelton MW and the Taittinger viticultural team have spent some time on the ground overseeing the first stages of preparing the soils for next year’s plantings.
The work on clearing a number of the mature fruit trees in readiness to plant our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines is well under way and will be completed by the end of May. Some of the existing windbreaks, so important to keep the individual blocks of trees, and ultimately the future vines, sheltered from prevailing winds, are also being removed as they reached the end of their lives. Before the vineyard is planted in May 2017, these will have replaced with new Italian Alder windbreak trees to continue that all important protection.
With the area cleared of the fruit trees, the next stage is to turn the soil using a subsoiler mounted behind a tracked bulldozer. This will bring up to the surface all the old root systems of the apple and pear trees which can then be removed by hand. Once the site is clear, the next phase involves applying fertilisers so that these can be worked into the ground down to the level of the roots of the future new vines.
As we approach mid-summer we are then ready to sow all the land to be planted with vines with a ‘green manure’ – a mixture of fodder radish and clover. The radish has a very deep tap root which should grow to 30 cm or more and helps to open up the soil providing air down to the lower levels where the vine’s roots will be. The clover, being a legume, will fix nitrogen from the atmosphere which collects on little white nodules on the roots and helps put some fertility back into the soil.
As we move out of summer, into autumn the site will be deep ploughed and left to over-winter enabling the winter rains get down into the subsoil. More to follow as the seasons change.
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