Adopt a Vine and Make Your Own Wine

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Working in the Vineyard


There's much to do in the vineyard at this time of year, and the rainy weather that we've had for the past couple of weeks hasn't helped matters. Fortunately we were lucky enough to have a window of sunshine last weekend to accompany us in the vineyard during the

The Wine Discovery Experience Days at Domaine Chapelle in Burgundy

We gathered in the château's garden, overlooking the surrounding vines, for the introductions. To get our bearings, Jean-François, the winemaker and owner, briefly told us the history of the region and of his family that have been making wine here for four generations.
In the Clos des Cornières vineyard, where the adopted vines of the Gourmet Odyssey clients are located, we learnt about the difference in Burgundy terroirs. It's easier to understand when you can look around you and see the differences rather than reading about it in a book or looking at a map.

 

Vines Winery Winemaker Domaine Chapelle

To make quality wine, you have to have quality grapes; something that involves much hard work and tender loving care. From pruning to the harvest, each task is important to try and obtain the best possible grapes and to limit the risk of disease. We learnt about the many tasks, often manual, and passages that are necessary. 

Quality Wine Grapes Harvest

The vines at Domaine Chapelle are organically certified, so we also learnt about the differences that entails compared to conventional farming.

In front of the adopted vines, a small chalk board identified each separate micro-plot. We took a few minutes out so that the introductions could be made with the new owners, and the photographs taken! 

Meeting with the adopted vines at the vineyard

Then the time had come to roll up the sleeves and lend a helping hand to the winery to catch up some of the lost time. The jobs of the day: de-budding and raising the training wires.

De-budding involves removing some of the non fruit-bearing shoots to better concentrate the fruits energy in the ones that will produce the grapes. Once we had been given our instructions on how to do it, we spread out among the rows and got stuck in! 

De-budding

The other task to be done was the "relevage". The vine is a creeper plant and if its growth isn't controlled will spread everywhere. We had to raise the training wires and make sure that the shoots were supported on either side by a wire, and so grow upwards. It is also important to separate the shoots from the neighbouring vines, using clips when necessary. Relevage helps to protect the branches from the passing tractors, and reduces the risk of disease and rotting of the future grapes by improving the flow or air around the plant. 

Vines Relevage

By this time the thirst was beginning to set in, so we headed back to the winery to start the wine tasting. For the aperitif we tasted a Santenay white wine and compared it with a Meursault on the Satrurday and a Chassgne Montrachet on the Sunday.

Wine Tasting

Lunch was served in the harvesters refectory, and we continued the tasting with some of the estate's red wines, a Santenay Clos des Cornières, a Santenay Premier Cru and an Aloxe Corton. 

The meal of the winemaker at Chapelle

We started the afternoon in the cuverie. It's here that the grapes are received at harvest time and we were introduced to the various stages of fermentation that will transform the sugar into alcohol. 

Cuverie Wine Grapes

The day ended in with a tour of the cellar. It's a real labyrinth of passages and rooms full of wine ageing in oak barrels and thousands of bottles resting the calm. 

Visit of the cellar
Many thanks to Jean-François and Yannick for having shared their passion of being winemakers with us. We'll appreciate the next bottle of Santenay that we open differently!

 

Comments

  • Many thanks to the owners for their welcome, conviviality, availability and their numerous explanations.
    Thanks also to Mark and Olivier for their kindness and the organisation of the wine experience day.
    A very interesting and enriching day which beyond how the winery operates, the work of the winemaker and his team, also enlightens you by learning about the wine region as a whole.

  • A very interesting and pleasant day. Many thanks to all. We look forward to coming back in September for the harvest.

  • A great day where we learnt alot and where we particulalry appreciated the simple and no nonense approach. We thank the very nice owners as well as all the team. The idea to create Gourmet Odyssey was brilliant and we will spread the word.
    We hope to come back for another day, perhaps for the harvest. We took some pictures and will send them to you if they're not too bad!

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