amarchinthevines

Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc

Full steam ahead

2 Comments

En français

There was something of the nautical in these two photographs hence the title.

The preparations for the vendanges are in full swing, the hail has speeded up the start date as damaged grapes, especially, the Grenache in Sainte Suzanne, need to be picked earlier than foreseen. A tour of the vineyards on Wednesday morning with Jeff was an opportunity for him to taste the grapes and use the refractometer to measure the sugar and potential alcohol in them.

P1010534

Picking will require even more care than usual in some parcels as the bunches will need to be checked thoroughly for any damage due to mildew, hail, vers de la grappe or any other issue. Many grapes will be left on the ground. The rest will be sorted back in the cave and Jeff has invested in a new sorting table to ensure scrutiny can be absolute. No chances will be taken as always, only healthy fruit will go into the wine. That is the how natural wines have to be, made from the healthiest fruit as nothing will be added to it to disguise faults, unripe grapes or unhealthy grapes.

P1010510

Karcher washer has been well used

In similar vein everything has been cleaned down, washing equipment is a time consuming but vital part of ensuring healthy grapes. Harmful bacteria are the enemy, with no SO2 antiseptics we have to make sure that everything is spotless.

And there have been plenty of other changes in the cellar to ensure that the winemaking will be top quality. Out has gone the old press and some big tanks (cuves) as I have mentioned before. In has arrived new stainless steel cuves, temperature controlled. There is more room, a new resin covered floor to make cleaning easier.

Steel gantries have been erected to make it easier to access the cuves from above. This will make it easier for any whole bunch winemaking as the grapes can be put in tank much more simply and with more checks on quality. It will also be easier to carry out pigeage (punching the grape skins, pips etc down into the juice) and remontage (where the juice is pumped over the top of the cap of grape skins etc). A new staircase to the gantry makes life a lot easier and safer too.

Some of the big cement cuves have been divided to enable Jeff to make smaller quantity wines which will offer more options at the time of assemblage.

 

So, Monday. We are ready. The grapes will be ready. Let the vendanges begin.

Author: amarch34

I'm a recently retired (early!) teacher from County Durham in North east England. I am going to be spending most of the next year in the Languedoc leaarning about wines, vineyards and the people who care for both.

2 thoughts on “Full steam ahead

  1. Bonne chance. Arrived back on Thursday and straight into picking Friday – day 2 at Domaine Ribiera. Not gutted to have missed day one as they picked after lunch as well as the morning of course.
    Barely rained here since May and the everywhere is as dry as I’ve seen it. Grape quality is excellent but the grapes are small and quantity is down. Not ideal but better than dealing with hail damage.

    Like

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