Vins et Crémants d'Alsace
2 av Jacques Preiss
68340 RIQUEWIHR - France
Tél : +33 3 89 49 09 69
Fax : +33 3 89 47 83 61
Pioneers of Crémant d'Alsace since 1574
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Wine growing

Whatever happens day-to-day in the vineyard is dictated by the season. Naturehas control. As we say ‘the wine is made in the vineyard’.

1) Pruning
The work carried out during the period from November to March influences thequality and quantity of the wine produced. In Alsace the Guyot system [called ‘canepruning’ in English] is adopted with either one or two canes per vine withshoots trained vertically. This is called vertical shoot positioning, or simplyVSP. The winemaker, in consultation with the viticulturist, determines the numberof buds, and ultimate yield.

2) Winter binding
It is during this period that damaged posts and missing vines are replaced. Pruningis usually finalised before mid-April with the two canes arched downwards andtied onto the lower fruiting wire. Recycled vine material is spread onto thevineyard floor and inter-row cover planned. Some ploughing and weeding may benecessary.

3) Maintenance
The vineyard is now ready for Spring.

1) Planting
As the warm sun of April slowly heats the soil, new plantings are planned, andthe grower prepares his plot. This is a major investment in manpower and materialssuch as posts, wire and vines with a full harvest expected after 4 to 5 years.

2) Works "in green" : disbudding and "Épamprage"
As growth begins unwanted water-shoots are removed, and excessive shoots thinnedas the vine prepares for flowering and the potential of the harvest starts tobe known.

3) Training vine on wires and the clipping
After flowering in June, under-vine areas and inter-row must be properly maintained.As the shoots develop and leaves form, the canopy is managed to ensure good lightpenetration and openness. Sunlight, and a good flow of air, will later reducethe risk of fungal disease, optimise photosynthesis and resultant sugar levelsin the berries, as well as encourage an even fruit set.

4) The thinning out of leaves
Some sprays may be necessary to control the risk of fungal diseases such as downyor powdery mildew, or grey rot. Some bugs can also be a problem at times andmust be managed, but we are well cognisant of the need to encourage bio-diversitywithin our vineyards.

5) Treatments
We are now at veraison when the grapes begin to soften, change colour, sugarsbuild-up, and acids begin to decrease. Any sprays that may have been necessarycease well before harvest.

A 40 to 50 days maturation period precedes harvest. The temperature and weatherof September and October are important and play a major role in grape quality.Sugars continue to increase, and acids drop. Flavour develops as physiologicalripeness is achieved. This is an important and attentive period for the Dopff-au-Moulinteam.

Since 1971 a regional committee of experts decides the harvest date, and calendar,variety-by-variety.

Viticulteur, Pierre Wagner, ensures tractors, trailers, buckets, secateurs, transport vehicles and coloured-coded bins [Dopff-au-Moulin are red and match our red end-posts in the vineyard] are all ready and in good order and correct quantities for harvest .

Fermenting tanks, wine presses, barrels, large wooden maturation vats, pumps, and all automated systems, are checked ready for the 70 hectares of our own grapes, as well as grapes from hundreds of growers that will soon enter the winery. Fastidious Pascal Batot, chef de cave, checks winery supplies and delivery schedules.

Ideally, harvest commences in October, when teams of grape-pickers start work on the various plots. At Dopff-au-Moulin all grapes are handpicked.

However, a good prolonged autumn may allow grapes to continue to ripen into November and December to produce our extra special wines. For example, the late harvest Vendanges Tardives, or possibly, the noble rot infected berries [Botrytis cinerea] for our Selections de Grain Nobles.

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