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Debudding and Biodynamics in Chablis


Last weekend we were once again in Chablis for a Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience Discovery Day. On the agenda: working in the vineyard, the difference between organic and biodynamic farming, and an introduction to the vinification side of things. 

Chablis Vineyard Vines Wine Making

The day started in the "Boissonneuse" vineyard plot, where the adopted vines of our clients are located. Once the photos in front of the vines were taken, we were quickly able to get straight into the heart of things to better understand the key stages in cultivating the vines.

Chablis Brocard Vines Wine 

To explain to us the work carried out in the vineyard, we were accompanied by Andrew from Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard.  He took up from after last year's harvest, describing the steps that have already been taken before revealing the task that he had saved for us, de-budding.

De-budding is an important job at this time of year that will improve the quality of the grapes to come. It entails removing the non fruit-bearing shoots and double buds so as to better concentrate the vine's energy. Andrew showed us how it's done, and then we spread out among the rows to give it a go!  We found ourselves surrounded by vines for as far as the eye can see, which helped us appreciate the enormity of the effort that is taken in looking after the vines. 

De-budding Vines Vineyard 

The Boissonneuse vineyard is not only cultivated organically, but is also biodynamically certified by Demeter. We headed to the domaine's priory, where we were joind by Julien Brocard, son of Jean-Marc, who initiated and developed biodynamic farming on the estate.  

Biodynamic farming 

Julien explained to us what biodynamics is, and how it is different from organic farming, before talking in more detail about one of the core treatments used in biodynamic farming, the Preparation 500. For the past 6 months, several hundred cow horns, filled with cow dung have been buried in the priory's garden. During this time, the cow dung has been transformed into super concentrated humus of a high quality. At this time of year the cow horns are dug up, and the humus that is collected is then mixed with rainwater and sprayed on the vines to improve their strength and well-being.

Biodynamie 

Back at the winery, the time had finally come to taste the wines. Pierre served us a wide range of the estate's wines, starting with the Petit Chablis, before moving on to several Chablis and Chablis Premier Crus, before ending with a couple of Chablis Grand Cru. 

Wine Tasting Chablis Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard 

After lunch, we returned to the vineyard, where Andrew took us through the work that will be carried out on the vines between now and the harvest. 

Vineyard Winemaker Vines 

The day ended in the winery building where the grapes will be received during the harvest, the juice fermented, and the wine aged.

Many thanks to Julien, Pierre and Andrew for having given us an enlightening glimpse into the world of a winemaker!

Comments

  • Congratulations for organising a great day. We really appreciated the explanations of Pierre, Andrew, Julien and yourself. See you again soon!

    Alain and MP

  • Thanks for these photos which are a great souvenir of our day spent with you, rich in discovery.

    Nathalie and Benjamin

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