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The harvest starts in Bordeaux


Last weekend was the turn of Bordeaux to start the harvest. After the Gourmet Odyssey Harvest Experience Days in the Languedoc, Burgundy, Alsace and the Rhone Valley, we met up at Château Beau Rivage, in Macau-en-Médoc for the start of the harvest at the winery.

 

Wine experience in Bordeaux

 

After a particularly wet summer, the September sun has been very welcome in maturing the grapes, and Christine Nadalié, the château's winemaker, had waited as long as possible before starting the 2014 harvest. Christine introduced us to the winery and brought us up to speed on the year so far before we set off into the vineyard. Here, we learnt which grapes to pick and which to leave behind. Then, armed with a pair of secateurs and a basket each, we spread out among the rows to start picking the grapes. The plot of vines had suffered from a few very hot days in July, so we had to be quite selective about which grapes we picked. But there were also plenty of good grapes, so the baskets soon filled up!

 

Adopt a vine in Bordeaux, France

 

We had a few brave volunteers to do the heavy work of being a porter. Once the baskets are full, we empty them into a big basket carried on the back of a porter. The porters then walk to the trailer, and tip the precious harvest into the trailer, being careful not to fall in with the grapes!

 

Wine Making Experience in Bordeaux

 

Once the trailer had been filled, we headed back to the winery to follow the grapes journey. Christine had decided she wanted to make some rosé wine from the merlot grapes that we had harvested, so we put in place the conveyor belt to carry the grapes from the trailer up into the press.

 

Vineyard experience in Bordeaux

 

After our morning's work, we were rewarded with a refreshing clairet rosé wine. We continued to taste different red wines from the winery over lunch which we enjoyed in the garden of the château.

 

unique wine gift personalised in Bordeaux

 

The winery cultivates 5 grape varietals, each of which ripens at varying speeds. After the meal, Christine led us to the vineyard plot behind the château, where we tasted grapes from different varietals to compare the different tastes and stages of ripeness.

 

Adopt a vine in Bordeaux, France

 

At the other end of the vineyard, the Gourmet Odyssey adopted vines are to be found. We took a few minutes to go and see them, and to take a few photos.

 

Rent a vine in Bordeaux

 

Back at the winery, we followed Christine into the chai, where she explained how the wine is worked during the harvest period to ensure that it ferments and macerates in the best conditions.

 

Wine experience gifts in Bordeaux

 

Christine used a mustimetre to measure the density of the grape juice that we had produced, which gives a good indication of the likely alcoholic volume, once all of the sugar has been transformed into alcohol.

 

Wine tasting gift in Bordeaux

 

We ended the day in the barrel room to see where the wines will rest during the ageing period. Many thanks to Christine, Guillaume and David from Château Beau Rivage for letting us get behind the scenes during the harvest, and to all of our participants for their hard work and enthusiasm!

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Adopt a Vine in France and Let Them Follow the Making of Their Own Wine !

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