Adopt a Vine and Make Your Own Wine

with the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

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Pruning the Vines

In theory, pruning vines is relatively easy. You just need to cut off some of the old branches to control the yield of grapes, thereby  increasing the level of sugar in the fruit which will then in turn produce a better quality of wine. But if you're new to pruning, and you find yourself in front of a vine, secateurs in hand, it's not always quite so simple. If only the vines would each grow the same way!

Discovery Experience Day at Chinon Château de la Bonnelière


Last Sunday, we were at Château de la Bonnelière in Chinon for a Discovery Experience Day with clients of the 2012 vintage of the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience. The aim of these hands-on wine courses is to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in to discover what it's like to be a winemaker.  During this time of year, we are towards the end of the pruning season, so all booted up and secateurs in hand, we headed out into the vineyard.

Before starting the real work, we took a few minutes for each client to get acquainted with their adopted vines! 

Adopted Vines Gourmet Odyssey

Marc Plouzeau, the owner and winemaker at the winery, then showed us how to prune.
Pruning the vines

The only real way to learn though is to have a go yourself, so we spread out among the vines to get down to some pruning. Not as simple as Marc made it out to be because you have to think not only of this year's harvest, but of the following year too!

The pruning

Marc then explained all of the other tasks that will be carrieid out in the vineyard between now and the harvest. The vineyard is organically certified, so we learnt about the organic and biodynamic treatments used to protect the vines.

Having spent the entire morning outside, the aperitif was well earnt. We started the wine tasting session with the Touraine Sauvignon blanc 2011, followed by the Chinon Rosé "Rive Gauche" 2011, and a Chinon "Rive Gauche" 2010 red wine. During the meal, we continued the tasting with the Chinon "Château de la Bonnelière" 2010, which is the wine chosen for the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience, and the Chinon "Chapelle" 2009 and 2008.

We headed over to the chai in the afternoon for an introduction into the winemaking side of things. It's in this building that the grapes will be received at harvest time.

Visite of the fermentation hall

To finish the day, we visited the impressive cellar which is underneath the Château de Chinon. It's within these cool galleries that the wine is aged in oak barrels and where the bottles are laid down.
Visit of the cellar

A big thank you to Marc for letting us catch a glimpse of the life of a winemaker, and for shared his passion for his profession.  


  • Excellent weekend in Chinon with a nice group of fellow wine lovers, a passionate winemaker and perfectly organised. We can't wait for the next experience day during the harvest.

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The Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

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

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