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Archive from July 2013

Raising the training wires in the vineyard


How to get the holidays off to a good start?  By passing a day at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay and getting involved in working in the vineyard of course!  At least that's how the latest participants of the Discovery Experience Day at Domaine Chapelle chose to do so.

Wine Experience Gift. Rent-a-vine in Burgundy and get involved in working in the vineyard

The first contact with their adopted vines, the first encounter with Jean-François and Yannick, the first questions, and the first work in the vineyard.  To celebrate the month of July, the weather was out in its fullest glory, and the sun radiated around us as we listened to Jean-François explain the secrets of the terroir and the Appellations d'Origines Contrôlées.  In the winery's garden, looking out over the Clos des Cornières vineyard, where our adopted vines grow, we could have stayed there all morning.  But we had some work waiting for us!

Introduction to the Burgundy terroir

We first went to meet our adopted vines and to take a few minutes to take some photos.  We then met back up with Jean-François and Yannick to learn more about the work that has already been carried out in the vineyard this year.

Original wine enthusiast Gift. Taking some photos of the adopted vines

The flowers on the vines had just finished a few days earlier, and we could start to see the tiny grapes start to form under the canopy of leaves.  After the pruning and de-budding earlier in the year, the summer months are kept busy with the final tasks in the vineyard before the harvest, raising the training wires, trimming and treating the vines.  Vines are from the creeper family of plants, and as such, grow incredibly quickly now that the hot and sunny days are finally with us.  It is therefore necessary to raise the training wires to better support the vines, and to separate branches from different vines, and to keep the rows clear for the passing tractors.  It's also the opportunity to remove any superfluous branches that drain energy from the plant.  This work enables the organic treatments used to be sprayed more efficiently on the leaves and grapes.  It might seem like a simple job, but it enables the vines to breath more easily and to concentrate their force on producing sugar in the grapes.  The trimming of the vines then follows to limit the height of the vines.

Listening to the explanations from Jean-François and Yannick

So it was under beautiful sunshine that we spread out among the rows to put what we had just learnt into practice, and to earn the aperitif which would follow!  Luckily, a steady northerly wind made the task easier by taking off some of the heat.  This ideal weather was also perfect for the vines, because it helps to neutralise some of the illness such as mildew by drying this fungus directly on the leaves before it has a chance to spread further.  Another occasion for Jean-François and Yannick to teach us a thing or two!

Raising the training wires in the vineyard

A few of us had been worried about the climate, given the lack of sun, the low temperatures and the high rainfall in the preceding months.  However, at Domaine Chapelle, the vines haven't really suffered from this, and apart from being a few weeks behind schedule, there is nothing so far that should impact the quality of the grapes now that the good weather has arrived.

After a few hours in the vineyard, we returned to the winery to enjoy the aperitif in the garden and to taste the Santenay Saint Jean and Meursault white wines from Domaine Chapelle.  We also made the most of the time to ask a few more questions to Jean-François and Yannick, always very generous in their responses.  We ate in the Harvester's refectory and continued the wine tasting with the Santenay Clos des Cornières, Aloxe-Corton, et Santenay La Comme Premier Cru.

Relaxing over a glass of wine

We then followed Yannick to the cuverie, where amongst the stainless steel, concrete and wooden vats, we saw the route that the grapes will take at harvest time.

Tour of the cellar

We finished the day with a visit to the cellar, where fortunately no one was lost!

Many thanks to Jean-François, Yannick and Yvette for having shared their knowledge and these beautiful days with us!

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Discovery Day at Domaine Stentz-Buecher


And last weekend we were also at Domaine Stentz-Buecher in Alsace for a Discovery Experience Day in the vineyard.
Adopt your own vines and make your own wine with Gourmet Odyssey

Above is a photo of our apprentice winemakers in front of the Rosenberg vineyard, where their adopted pinot gris vines are located.

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Training the vines at Domaine la Cabotte


Last Saturday, we spent a very enjoyable and sunny day in the Rhone Valley with Marie-Pierre and Eric, the winemakers at Domaine la Cabotte.  We were there for a Discovery Experience Day to learn more about winemaking, notably the all important work in the vineyard.

Following the coffee and introductions, we headed to the area of the vineyard where the Gourmet Odyssey vines are located.  A small personalised blackboard identified the micro-plot of adopted vines for each client, and we took a few minutes to get to know them!

Rent a wine in France with Gourmet Odyssey

The vineyard at Domaine la Cabotte is organically and biodynamically certified, which means paying special attention to the vines and their environment.  Eric explained the difference between the conventional, organic, and biodynamic approaches to tending to the vines.

Adopt your own vines

We then walked to the lower part of the vineyard where Eric and Marie-Pierre had set aside some work for us to do.  On the way, Eric showed us the different grape varietals planted in the vineyard and brought us up to date with the work that has been already done during the winter and spring.

Make your own wine with Gourmet Odyssey in France

Our task for the day was training the vines, which involves raising the training wires and ensuring that each of the branches grow inside the wires.  This helps the vines by supporting the weight of the foliage and future grapes, and also helps to keep a clear passage for the tractors.
Eric & Marie-Pierre showed us how to pull the wires apart, raise them and then attach them together using a small clip.  We then spread out in the vineyard to get stuck in!

Wine tasting in France

Working in the vineyard is good for opening up the taste buds!  Back at the winery, we started the tasting with a fresh white wine from the estate, which was most welcome after the heat in the vineyard.  We then tasted the Côtes du Rhône Massif d'Uchaux Garance, which is the red wine chosen for the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience, followed by the winery's Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Tasting Organic wines in France with Gourmet Odyssey

We continued the wine tasting in the chai over lunch.

Adopt your own vines and make your wine

In the afternoon, we went for a short walk, following the path through the wood and vines.  This enabled us to discover the different terroirs and Eric also showed us a plot that he had recently replanted.

Discovery winemakers and make your wine

The day finished back in the chai.  Here Eric introduced us to the vinification side of winemaking and talked more about biodynamic winemaking.

Rent vines in France with Gourmet Odyssey

Many thanks to Eric and Marie-Pierre, and to all those who came to share the day with us.  See you soon for the harvest!

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