Runoff and erosion

Most hillside vineyards are confronted with problems of runoff and erosion. Over the last few decades, these phenomena have been exacerbated by developments in viticulture: longer rows, weeding, restructuring of the hillsides (destruction of hedges, shrubs, walls, etc.).

In the past, vine growers had, often empirically, developed solutions to limit the source of erosion risks. Unfortunately, the imperatives of productivity and the introduction of mechanisation have, under certain conditions, overridden these ancestral practices. In keeping with the specific situation, a compromise must be found between the need to adapt the planting and layout of vineyard plots to the constraints of mechanisation and the concern to regulate surface runoff as close to the source as possible. For vines on steep slopes, these imperatives often justify the introduction of plant cover or a surface layer of mulch (reducing runoff and improving the soil structure). As a complement, hydraulic works (ditches, stoned or concrete tracks, settling basins) facilitate the outflow of rainwater. All these measures need to be incorporated into a policy of harmonious landscaping.