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Hello and happy wine Wednesday!

The vineyards in Chavot-Courcourt all look very happy – bud burst is alive and well and the hills are covered in green.

I have heard from some of you that you would like more technical information on vineyard management and champagne production.  So today I present you with a background and explanation of pruning systems that are approved for the Champagne region.

There are four methods of pruning Champagne grapevines and, since 1938, these methods have been strictly regulated.


  • Chablis – this pruning method was developed in Chablis, France and is now used predominantly for Chardonnay (90%).  The low stump has usually four or five canes or ‘cordons’ which make a fan shape.  This system requires more skill than other methods of pruning.
  • Cordon de Royat – this method focuses on one singular cane/cordon that is permanent with short, renewable spurs.  Most often it is how Pinot Noir is pruned.

The two methods mentioned above are mandatory for all Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards.

  • Guyot – this system involves one long cane and one spur for renewal OR two long canes with two spurs (Double-Guyot).  This is a great pruning method where frost is a concern.
  • Valée de la Marne – looks very similar to the Double-Guyot pictured above but has the two canes pushed in the same direction on the wire.  It is used exclusively for Pinot Meunier.

Vineyard spacing along with good pruning practices allow for each vine to produce 12 – 15 grape clusters which is equal to one bottle of wine.

Why is pruning so darn important?

The purpose of pruning is to encourage sap to flow toward the fruit-bearing buds. The buds require an even distribution of sap for vigorous growth but excess sap may compromise productivity. Ideally, there should be a good balance of vigour and productivity – two conflicting requirements that are not easily reconciled.  The choice of pruning method helps to attain this balance. Long-pruned canes restrict the flow of sap, making for a better distribution of sap along the length of the cane, so boosting the vine’s vigour, but preventing excessive flow to the buds, so boosting productivity. Long pruning encourages this process by creating knots that further regulate sap flow.

Comité Champagne

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Pinot Meunier vines in Courcourt pruned with the ‘Valée de la Marne’ method.

I wish you a wonderful Wednesday.