Monday 5th March 2018
There's still plenty of work to do in the vineyards as the new growing season approaches. Most of the pruning has been done, despite the cold and wet weather, but some vines need more than pruning. Many will be judged to be at the end of their working lives and will have to be dug out and replaced.
While in many wine-growing areas vines may be left in place for sixty, or even up to eighty, years, in the Médoc they tend to be replaced after 30 years, such is the emphasis on having only the very best, healthiest grapes in the prestige wines. The ground may be left fallow for a couple of years before replanting and even then it may be up to ten years before the grapes from the new vines are considered good enough to go into the 'grand vin', although they will be used before in the second wines most chateaux produce.
At the very top Médoc chateaux each vine can produce around £80 worth of wine each year, perhaps £1500 in their lifetime. So the piles of uprooted vines one sees around at this time of year are going to end up as some very expensive firewood!