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The Wine-Maker's Calendar

GRM' flagship property, Château Picon has a unique terroir and a long history that spans more than nine centuries. This beautiful estate is brought to life by the people who work in the vineyard. Eric is one of those people. All through the year he watches over the vineyard, in the knowledge that the quality of the grapes will be determined by a balance between his expertise and the richness of the terroir.

Eric and his team have a busy calendar: nothing is spared in their care for the vines…

In January Eric prunes the vines… He chooses the branches that will bear fruit. The non-fruit bearing branches are removed, this stage is called the tirage du bois ("sorting of the wood"). During this time the previous vintage is maturing, improving in quality and flavour.
At a large property like Château Picon, the pruning takes a long time and continues until mid-February. Next the wires and stakes that support the vines all need to be checked.
The last pruning operations are carried out before the vines' growth cycle begins in March. It is said that the vines then "cry": drops of sap will appear if an incision is made. Eric prepares the lattes, the branches that will bear fruit, attaching them to the horizontal wires. The winter buds have a "shell" that protects them during handling.
In April, any dead vines are replaced by new grafted plants. Merlot is the most resistant grape variety. Cabernet Franc is more sensitive to the climate and diseases, and requires extra attention from our vine-growers.
The last frosts in May are the most serious threat that Eric has to deal with. In the vineyards at Château Picon, the excess buds are removed and the vines are ventilated.
June is the month for épamprage, the removal of unwanted leaves and shoots. This enables more sap to flow to the fruit-bearing branches.
In July, Eric carries out a final pruning: soon only the weather will be able influence the quality of the harvest. The vines flower, and in theory the grapes will be harvested exactly one hundred days later.
In August Eric and his team leave nature to do its work, and take a well-earned rest.
The winery has to be ready for the harvests in September, this means checking the equipment, and cleaning and disinfecting everything. The weather will determine when the harvests begin.
October is the time of the harvests. At Château Picon, the harvest date tends to be slightly later, to enable the grapes to reach optimal quality.
Most of the wine-makers’ activity in November takes place indoors in the cellar. In the vineyard, the earth is pushed up around the base of the vines to protect them.
Pruning starts again in December, as the vines and their guardian angels begin to prepare the next harvest.