Monday 6 April 2020

Undocumented moments in the vines | Liage

Liage, not 'pliage' which is what I keep calling it thanks or rather no thanks to my memory bridge to bend > ballet > pli√© is one of those things no one writes about, is just another of those uncelebrated, undocumented moments in wine where 8 hours a day turn into 40 hour weeks bent down head down i.e.: labour, the manner in which basically I spend all my time so why don't write about it? and so I did and here it is: 545 more words to go on the thankless task of attaching the baguette to the wire with wire.

Liage happens after pruning and after you’ve pulled the wood which is simply the act of pulling the wood you've cut while pruning off the wires and which I'll write about later. It is, as I said, the name for the act of attaching your baguette (this is the honest to god technical term for the wood upon which one day very far away the grapes will grow) and it is this, as I said, that you must attach; assuming you have vines on wires. I’ll explain why now and this is to ensure everything grows evenly and not too densely in one direction and not everywhere like corruption and lonely people and plastic headed to the ocean because of two reasons and these are one: if you work with a horse or a quad-bike or a tractor you will break their arms, and two: to prevent acrotony.

Acrotony is a property of vines by which she will zap her sap down the baguette >>> to the last bud which will grow first, blowing all the vine's fruit-power and energy so out go people paid to spend their days ideally in the rain (this so it only cracks but doesn't snap) cajoling wood into long twists or bending them into arcs which is called 'l'arcure' the point of all this is to stop the flow or rather re-direct the sap with each crack to each of the buds which means FRUIT which is what we do this for but which, I must admit, can be hard to remember hence all the times I've 'quit' like when three weeks of liage in we were told 'There’s only 20 hectares to go' which for context I would like you to know means what was left was four times more than the biggest domaines I’ve worked for and we’d already done 15. Size, friends, is everything.

Liage also hurts. It hurts your back like all tasks head down bent over for days worth of hours do, my middle finger is four weeks later still swollen from feeding the wire and gripping the wood and quite blue, and it hurts your face when it whips you and my advice is don't do this when hungover or in a bad mood. On my first day maybe minute five it whipped me in my eye and it flashed through my mind that while I’m still being grateful I can walk again, how would I tell mom this time what’s happened is I’ve gone blind? But when I say it's thankless work don’t think I don't know it's Just Work that Needs to be Done that I think life's a peach or at least all harvest because there are more of these as of yet undocumented tasks I find gratifying like √©bourgeonnage which isn't so bad and la taille which I like when you take the time for each vine because it’s the first time you see her again after you’ve rushed out hot with all her fruit rushed into the cold cellar in a rush of friends and drinking and people and drinking and late nights listening to the drip drip of the press rather than sleeping the whole crazy mad rush of everything at once necessary to transfer a year’s worth of energy into all that we celebrate in wine which is what we do it for, remember! and with all this going on it’s easy to forget to look back and say thank you, goodbye.

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