The Mag

The vine falls asleep

Champagne Canard-Duchêne, automne

We are currently in mid-autumn, and the winter season is slowly approaching. And at this time of the year, it is often admitted that the effervescence of the activities related to the vineyard calms down… But this is not quite true. At Canard-Duchêne, we are always on the lookout. To make a champagne with delicious aromas, you need quality grapes. It is necessary to take care of it. And this, during the 12 months of the year!

Canard-Duchêne, Vigne en automne

Work in the vineyard at the end of the year

Once the boiling of the September harvest is over, the vinification phase begins. After the alcoholic fermentation where the sugar of the grapes is transformed into alcohol, the clear wines (not sparkling) are put in tanks where they will age for several months. It will then be time to assemble these different wines, by supplementing with reserve wines from previous years, like a magic recipe to obtain our different cuvées. The wines are regularly checked throughout this process, nothing is left to chance to preserve the identity of the House’s champagnes.

During October, the care of the vineyard begins. A healthy vine can live up to a hundred years. However, it is necessary to give it all the care it deserves and it is at this moment that the wine growers operate.

After being dressed in the exquisite colors of autumn, the leaves of the vines have almost all fallen by mid-November. The vine delicately curls up on itself. The sap flows down to protect the plant from freezing. It can live on its reserves before starting a new cycle next spring.

This is how the first prunings take place after the harvest.

Pruning: the heart of the winegrower's profession

Men and women cut vine shoots by hand. It is a decisive and very delicate operation. Indeed, it consists of shaping the vines’ wood so they are vigorous and fertile to ensure the quality of the next harvest. The best woods are selected to carry the grapes of the next harvest. It is an action that prepares the vine for the arrival of winter and accompanies it until the beginning of milder days.

There are four types of pruning authorized by the Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne:

– The Chablis pruning: short pruning on a long frame.

– Cordon pruning: short pruning on a single long frame.

– Guyot pruning: long pruning on short structures (simple, double, or asymmetrical).

– The Vallée de la Marne pruning: long pruning on short frame (only concerns the Meunier).

The pre-pruning is however suspended from mid-December to January in order to respect the winter rest of the vine. This is called dormancy. We also make sure to protect the vines.

More than ever, our profession flows with the rhythm of the seasons. With the most incredible humility, we are in constant adaptation to Nature. The pruning will then resume until the end of March of the following year.

Canard-Duchêne Champagne, vigne en automne

Portrait of a sleeping nature

A trip to the vineyards of Champagne during the transition from autumn to winter is worthy of an artistic painting. Except that this one is alive!

We slow down our pace to the point of stopping. We take time as everything is suspended in the Champagne hillsides: the calm, a light fresh breeze, the shimmering colors of the fallen leaves and the vineyards laid bare before us. So it is modestly a question of contemplation. In the golden hour, you might even observe that delicate spider webs are woven between two rows of vines, thanks to the sun’s brilliance, like angel threads. Emotions may then resurface in you, or simply the present’s peace. Free spirits, take this moment of pause to be closer to Nature and embrace its rhythm.

A park with century-old trees can extend your bucolic visit to the Domaine Canard-Duchêne.

And if you are not afraid of the winter climate of the Champagne region, come and enjoy a visit to our cellars. Be sure of one thing, the effervescence is guaranteed for the end of the year!

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