One of the things that I find most enjoyable about living in Champagne is the people you meet. Of course speaking to the champagne makers and tasting their grower champagnes is wonderful but in fact you can meet fascinating people at any moment.
Last week, when the snow had finally melted, I knew that there would be lots of people out in the vineyards finishing off the last of the pruning (LaTaille). They had to stop pruning during the really cold weather because the frost can easily penetrate into the heart of the cut vines and kill them. Now the weather is a little less cold they are hurrying to get the pruning done before Spring arrives.
I came across one particularly jovial chap called M. Renoir.
No, he isn't a painter, but as well as being a vigneron, he's also something of an inventor too, as you'll see in the video below.
La Taille is one of the crucial steps in viticulture. It may look simple, but you have to know what you are doing and you have to be prepared to spend hours and hours in the vineyards because it's something that can only be done by hand.
With 8,000 or so vine plants per hectare you can easily understand that pruning is a time consuming job, but it's just one of many tasks for the vigneron during the year. In fact when you realise how much labour goes into the production of champagne, you'll be asking yourself why it is so cheap!
Anyway, you'll learn more in the video and have the pleasure of meeting M. Renoir.