No you haven’t missed Parts 1 & 2! It is widely acknowledged that the work of a vigneron involves three locations; the vineyard, the cellar and the office. The first two parts are the most well known of course and what people like me think of first when we think about the ‘glamorous’ lifestyle of winemakers. However, if you don’t sell the wine and get it delivered safely to merchants, restaurants etc then it is pointless trying to make wine.
Now that harvest is done and the wines are stored in tanks, either fermenting or maturing, the more mundane, but equally important, aspect of a winemaker’s job comes to the fore. Wines have to be bottled, packaged, sent to market and, above all, sold. Jeff said to me that this was not especially interesting but, for me, it was.
Jeff has built a strong demand for his wines both in France and abroad. Our recent visit to Paris and the fact that his wines are sold out there proved the case. Visitors to the cellars call on a regular basis looking for wine, merchants phone wanting to place orders – his mobile phone is never far from Jeff’s ear.
On Friday last week a new ‘toy’ arrived to help the packaging. It seals the cardboard cartons and prints the name of the wine on the side, speeding up the packaging process. Nonetheless teamwork and humour keep that process very human.
The job is hard, repetitive, physical work. In the video you will see Jeff at one point to place 4 bottles in the box at a time, routines and practice are everything. But without the boxes of wine the rest of the business cannot happen. It is less attractive but it is as important as harvesting or winemaking.
Two new wine treats came to the fore this week. Firstly, a slightly sparkling white wine, blanc frisant made from Macabeu and Grenache Gris. Secondly a cuvée made for the first time since 2003, Copains, made mostly from Cinsault but with Grenache and Syrah grapes vinified all together – truly delicious with the latter grapes adding body and depth to the Cinsault and giving the bottle longevity I would think.
Parts 1 & 2 of winemaking are still very strong, Part 3 too and I shall investigate more about commercial decisions in future.