During the winter pruning many tons of vine branches, more specifically about two tons per hectare, are cut off the vines every winter in France. Sarments as it is called in French. In some regions it is a tradition to burn the branches, in others to leave them in the vineyard as a kind of fertilizer.
A new research report shows that it is even better than previously thought to use the branches as a fertilizer. The branches will decompose and mineralize and provide good nutrition to the soil. Esca (a dangerous fungus disease) in the vineyard is no problem in this case because the young branches hardly carry any infection, according to the researchers.
Perhaps this is good news for many wine growers. To burn the branches is sometimes no longer an option. Last winter, the authorities banned wine growers throughout Burgundy to burn branches due to unusually high pollution in the air. Sarments is also very popular to use when grilling meat. Hope that will not be outlawed.
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