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Relevage of the Vines

Among the green and leafy vines of Burgundy, we spent last Saturday in Santenay at Domaine Chapelle for a Gourmet Odyssey Wine Discovery Experience Day.

Burgundy Terroir

From the Clos des Cornières vineyard, where the adopted vines of the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience are located, Jean-François Chapelle and Yannick Jacrot explained the differences in the surrounding terroir, why some vineyards are designated as Premier Cru, and others Santenay Village.

We learnt about all the steps involved in cultivating the vines from pruning through to the harvest, and as the domaine is organically certified, Yannick explained the particularities that are involved in treating organic vines.


As always with a Gourmet Odyssey Experience Day, there is some work to do!  At this time of year, the vines are growing rapidly, and as the vine is a creeper plant, they need to be managed and held in check.   Yannick and Jean François showed us how to carry out "Relevage" and "Rognage".

Relevage is ensuring that each of the vine branches grow between the training wires, and that they are separated from one plant to another.  This helps to support the vines, and to increase the flow of air around the grapes to defend against mildew.  As the vines had grown since the last relevage, the training wires were raised up a notch on the wooden posts and then clipped together using a biodegradable clip.

Rogange is trimming the tops of the vines to direct more of the plants energy into the fruit-bearing branches.  This is predominantly carried out using the tractor, but is still done manually for some of the more fragile young vines, using a pair of shears.

Working on the vines

Explanations well understood, we then dispersed amongst the rows of vines to get to work on raising the training wires, separating and placing the branches, and trimming the tops of the vines!


Before heading back to the winery, there was time for each client to introduce themselves to their adopted vines!  The grapes have already started to form, and give the first mouth-watering taste of the 2011 vintage to come!

Wine Tasting Burgundy wines

After all the talk about how the vines and grapes are nurtured, it was time to taste the final product!  We gathered next to the old oak fermentation tanks in the cuverie to begin the wine tasting session of Domaine Chapelle's wines.  We started with a Santenay "St Jean" 2009 white wine, produced on the upper slopes behind the domaine that we had seen in the morning from the vineyard.  We then moved onto a more complex Chassagne Montrachet "Morgeot" 2009.

Lunch of Burgundy specialities

The wine tasting continued over lunch with the red wines, including a Santenay, Santenay Clos des Cornières, Aloxe Corton and Santenay 1er Cru.


In the afternoon, we headed over to the fermentation hall to see where the grapes are collected at harvest time and put into the vats, and to learn how the sugar is turned into alcohol during fermentation.
Wine cellar

The final part of the day was to visit the cellar that lies like a labyrinth below the winery buildings and courtyard.  This is where the wines are aged in a mixture of new and old oak barrels, and once bottled, are stored.

As always, thanks to Jean François and Yannick for making the day so interesting and informative!




  • We had a great day discovering what it's like to be a winemaker from people passionate about their profession in a friendly atmosphere.

  • Incredible day that let us discover "what's behind our glasses of wine"...
    Great winery with an exceptional cellar.
    This is a fantastic concept and highly recommended. We can't wait for the next part of the adventure.

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The Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

Adopt a Vine in France and Follow the Making of Your Own Wine !

From € 169


Adopt-a-Vine Biodynamic Blending Burgundy Cellar Experience Fermentation Gift Grapes Harvest Making Organic Tasting Vine Vines Vineyard Vinification Wine Winemaker Winery

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