Over the past few years, this is the kind of thing you see tilling the precious soil between the Burgundian vineyards. Now, these tractors-on-steroids may be pleasing to people who get excited about machinery (I am not one of those people) but otherwise they are not particularly picturesque. However, I think many of us have resigned ourselves to a more technological but less aesthetic world when it comes to machinery.
In Burgundy, however, I am pleased to report that while the rest of the world is moving “forwards” towards more technology, and processes that are quicker and cheaper, things in Burgundy have started to go backwards.
Have a look at this photo a recent guest at La Maison de la Vieille Vigne, Vincent Ball, sent me.
Isn’t this nicer to look at? You see in Burgundy – a place where rapidity and cheapness have never been particularly cherished – winemakers are beginning to realize that nothing is better than a good old horse to plow and till your vineyards. They don’t damage the precious soil, vines, or grapes and this in turn produces a better more authentic wine. More and more winemakers are going back to using horses, and in fact being a vineyards horse owner / driver is becoming one of the most up and coming career choices in the Beaune area.
I’m sure even the guy over there to the right in his “old-fashioned” tractor is considering changing to this new-fangled horse method all his winemaker buddies are talking about.