The culture

Year 4 000 BC :
It is the time of the wild vine plants named Vitis Vinifera and Vitis Rupestreis.
At this period, vine is just a wild creeper growing at the edge of the forest. Its origins are not well known but it seem to be from Mesopotamia, Abyssinia or even the Nile valley.Greek and Roman Antiquity : 
From 2nd-3rd Century BC until 8th-10th Century AD, is the period where domestication of the vine started. Each stock is leant against high wooden sticks named “échalas” It is the period of planting in staggered arrangement or “en foule”. Vine still grows free.

Early middle age 12th Century until 18th Century : 
stone is used in combination with wood in order to improve vine growing. Terrasse farming become more present and rudiments of pruning appear.

From 18th Century to nowadays :

These are modern times where the height of vine plants is reduced. New pruning methods are introduced like Guyot pruning (simple or double), “ Lenzmoser” (a German type of pruning) or lyre pruning.

In Alsace, vines are higher than in the south in order to benefit from the best sunshine all year long.They are tied on a 5 wires trellis that maintains the leaves and permit a better reaping of the grapes.The number of buds can vary depending on the plantation density which is about 4 500 to 5 000 stocks per hectare.
Line spacing between two ranks is of 1.50 metres and the space between the trunks is of 1.40 metres. However, nowadays we tend to use a 2 metre spacing line.

The most commonly used rootstock are called SO4, 3309, 161.49, 5BB:

  • 161.49 may be the best. We shall know better after more hindsight.
  • 3309 is less vigorous in supporting large climate variation but has the bonus of resisting disease well.
  • SO4 is well adapted to clay soils and is more vigorous in poor and very dry soils.

Regarding the parasites threatening the vine, Alsace has the same as those found in the southern France vineyards.

Mildew requires 4 to 5 treatments per year (Folpel + Cynoxamil)
Oïdium is a fungus that needs an early sulphur treatment.
Brenner a scarce leave disease appearing in mid May; It causes a dryness of the leaves (lack of chlorophyll) and it result in grey rot.

Red and yellow spiders sting the leaves, which turn yellow. This disease stops the maturation of the branches.

Cochylis and Oedemis are worms. They make holes in the grapes. We prevent them with 2 copper treatments.
Usually, in order to fight against all these potential problems 6 treatments per year are necessary.