Well, cave painting is a slight exaggeration but there have been lots of changes in the main cave in recent weeks. The first took place a little while ago when one of the cement tanks, cuves, was divided into two. This will allow an additional wine to be made separately giving more flexibility to Jeff to decide what cuvées to make. As he has increased the number of parcels of different varieties, especially older cépages such as Aramon and Castets, then these have to be vinified with other grapes or separately. More cuves add more choice.
The main cellar is a marvelous place with its sheer size and history of winemaking. The roof has always been a joy to look at because of the magnificent timber work and vaulting. Sadly, after five generations of Coutelou vignerons, the roof had problems. The woodwork needed replacing in some areas and the tiles needed to be relaid or replaced. A large expense to take on board.
Whilst the work on the roof has been going on Jeff took the opportunity to improve other features, such as new electric points and drains but also new equipment to circulate the air better in the higher parts of the cellar where heat can gather.
All this means better control, better conditions for winemaking and, I am sure, even better wines. To pay for all the work! As we are now just a matter of days from vendange the cleaning up process has begun even as the work comes to an end. Everything must be clean and ready.