The technique of obtaining ripe grapes is simple: limit the quantity of grapes as previously described and nourish them with lots of leaves. In practise it is not so easy as this involves a lot of additional work and higher stakes with more wires to hold the branches up. Here, Fabrice our vineyard worker is lifting the wires. The tips of the branches will be clipped back at around 2 metres hieght. The maximum ratio for quality grapes as set out in the Appellation regulations is 0.9 kg of grapes for 1m2 of leaves. Due to our higher than average stakes and yield control, we are well over this requirement.
Given the way we work our vines, we are always well below the authorised maximum yield for our appellation of 62 hl/ha which is a prequisite to obtaining grapes that are sufficiently ripe so as not to require chaptalisation (we are the only producers in our appellation making non chaptalised wine). This can be checked by counting and weighing grapes. If neccesary, as here in very young vines, surplus bunches are eliminated. The optimal time to do this is just as they begin to change colour about 6 weeks before harvest.