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

Vendanges 17 – briefing


Yes that is Jeff Coutelou in his briefs. Why?

It’s a simple explanation honestly. The tank of Mourvèdre was ready for remontage. That is where juice from the bottom of the tank is pumped over the cap of grape skins, pips etc (the must) which rise during fermentation. That cap becomes hard and there is a risk of bacterial infection plus the whole idea of having the skins in there is to extract tannins, colour and flavour so it’s pointless having them separated from the juice.

A normal pigeage

You may recall that this was the tank where Jeff had to improvise last Monday when the érafloir broke down. Some of the bunches were destemmed, others went in whole bunch. There is therefore a higher than usual amount of solid material in the tank. This had formed a solid cap and Jeff needed it to be pushed back into the juice. A fork was used at first as is normal (the process called pigeage), but the crust was too firm. So, Jeff took off his boots and socks and climbed in.

This is dangerous for two reasons. He could fall through the cap and into the juice and, secondly, there is a lot of carbon dioxide coming from the fermentation which, as I found out, can make you ill. So hanging on to the sides and with myself and Matthieu ready to catch hold Jeff pushed down with his feet onto the cap.

He described the cap as cold but underneath the fermentation meant that the juice was hot. As Jeff pushed down the cap it was fascinating to see the gentle bubbling of the fermentation process, sadly it was too dark for the camera to pick up. As he pushed the cap down, Jeff needed to push lower so, off came the trousers. Moving around the tank the cap began to sink bit by bit.

Out he came and a normal remontage took place though in his briefs!

And the wine? Well it tastes very good, perhaps with more legs in the glass than usual.


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.

6 thoughts on “Vendanges 17 – briefing

  1. “clean on this morning”, I’m sure! 😮

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sure. Feet washed first as well.


  3. Lovely to finally catch up with this blog. A lot has happened since my fiancée and I turned up unannounced in August! Cracked upon some Flower Power last night… bloody BON!


    • Good to hear from you, it was certainly enjoyable meeting you both. Glad you liked Flower Power, sadly there probably won’t be any 2016 or 17 due to snails in 2016 and the dryness this year. Thanks for catching up, keep in touch 🙂


  4. Hello once again! Enjoyed vendages 17… it reminded me of tasting the Syrah juice, can still taste it! I sent a FB message to Jeff (I expect he’s very busy) asking what else I could potentially purchase in light of Flower Power shortage… any ideas? Still very keen to have wedding sponsored by Coutelou!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s