Adopt a Vine and Make Your Own Wine

with the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

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Tagged articles : Vine

Last minute Christmas gifts for wine lovers


Just one week left to go for your Christmas presents! If you haven't yet finished your Christmas gift shopping, not to worry. You can order the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience up to 12:30 on the 20th December depending on the delivery destination, or for the real last minute Christmas shoppers, you have until 12:30 on the 24th December to receive a copy of the personalised certificate by email. Here are a few ideas of original Christmas presents for wine enthusiasts.

More information on the Christmas delivery date limits

Turn you loved ones into an apprentice winemaker for a winemaking year! A very original Christmas gift that sees them adopted their own vines in a French organic vineyard. They'll follow all the key stages in making their wine from the work in the vineyard and cellar up to choosing the name for their personalised bottles of wine.

And to complete you Christmas gift, you can also include one of the Wine Experience Days at the winery. The Discovery Experience Day will allow them to get behind the scenes and learn about caring for the vines to bring the grapes to optimum maturity. The Harvest Experience Day will see them get involved in picking the grapes and following their path into the fermentation tanks. Or why not include a Vinification Experience Day to learn more about the work in the cellar and blending the wines.

Each Experience Day is valid for two people and lasts a whole day. You'll spend the day with the winemakers, get involved in one or more practical tasks, taste the estate's wines and share a meal of other local delicacies.

All of our partner vineyards are organically certified and the winemakers have been chosen for the passion that they share for their profession. They'll welcome you warmly and let you in behind the scenes to discover what it's really like to be a winemaker.

To have something to open right away in front of the Christmas tree, your recipient will receive a welcome pack containing a sommelier's apron, DropStop, personalised certificate and details regarding their chosen Wine Experience. A truly unique and hand's on experience to learn more about wine.

More information on the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

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Harvest Experience Days at Domaine Chapelle


We spent three excellent days last weekend at Domaine Chapelle for the Harvest Experience days.

All week, the Gourmet Odyssey team anxiously monitored the weather forecast as Jean-Franois, the winemaker at Domaine Chapelle, was predicting rain for the weekend. In the end, the wet conditions didn't dampen the spirits, and we had a great group who were fully motivated to participate in the harvest. Those lucky enough to have chosen the Monday even saw some sunshine!

Wine Experience Gift in Burgundy, France 

Each morning we welcomed the adoptive owners of vines in the "Clos des Cornires" vineyard. After a coffee and a short introduction to the winery, we set off to the vineyard. With a few explanations from Jean-Franois and plenty of good humour, we set about harvesting the grapes.

Harvest Experience Gift in Burgundy, France 

We then followed the grapes to the reception hall to sort the grapes and track their journey into the vats.

Original wine gift for wine lovers. Get involved in the harvest in Burgundy 

Whilst some got stuck in around the sorting table, secateurs in hand, under the instruction of Yannick, the Technical Director, others watched the grapes climb the conveyor belt and fall into the vat. Jean-Franois talked us through the first stages of fermentation and how the grape juice will gradually transform into wine.

Wine course gift at the winery in Burgundy. Learn about the fermentation process 

After a busy morning, it was time to taste some of the estate's wines, accompanied by one of the local specialties, gougres, before sitting down to lunch in the harvesters' refectory. The conversation, food and wine flowed, and it was difficult to get going again afterwards!

Wine tasting gift in Burgundy. 

The days finished with a visit of the cellar, an impressive labyrinth of barrels and bottles.

Wine tour of the cellar in Burgundy. Original wine gift for wine enthusiasts 

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Wine Discovery Experience Day at Domaine Chapelle


Last Saturday, we spent the day with Yvette, Jean-François and Yannick at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay.  Under a shy sun, but nevertheless present, we had come to learn more about the work in the vineyard and how wine is made during the Wine Discovery Experience Day.

Over a cup of coffee and a few croissants, Jean-François enlightened us about the notion of Appellations and the importance that the different terroirs in Burgundy play, the roots from which date back to the monks in the nearby village of Citeaux! After an introduction to the winery, and the evolution of the wine making over the past few generations, we made the most of the sun to learn more about the geology and its impact on the wine.

Gift adopt your own vines in Burbungy

From the garden in front of the chateau, you have a splendid view of the surrounding hills, and Jean-François pointed out the vineyards that are classified as Premier Cru, Village or for general Burgundy wine. The differences can seem rather theoretical and abstract, but when you can see the different plots in front of you, all is much clearer! After some additional explanations on the principal grape varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, that are grown in Burgundy, we headed to the winery building, accompanied by Yannick, the winery's Technical Director.

Gift adopt your own vines in Burgundy with Gourmet Odyssey

We followed the route that the grapes and then the wine take from the time of harvest, through the fermentation and ageing stages in making wine. A little teaser for those who are coming back for the Harvest and Vinification Experience Days!

Gift make your own wine in France with Gourmet Odyssey

Following the explanations of how the reception hall functions, we turned our attention to the barrels. Where do they come from? What wood is used to make them? What work is done before the bottling takes place? ...

We then ventured outside for the aperitif, and started to taste some of the white wines produced by Domaine Chapelle, the Santenay Saint-Jean and the Meursault. During the meal, we continued the tasting with some of the reds, including the Santenay Clos des Cornières and an Aloxe Corton. Some fine wines to accompany the Burgundy specialities that we savoured during the meal.

Gift tasting wines from Burbungy France and adopt your own vines

We spent the afternoon in the vineyard, first to visit our plot of adopted vines. Pruned and the soil recently tilled, the Clos des Cornières vineyard saw some of us take up some unusual positions and grimaces for those who were tempted to try and win a magnum of wine in the photo competition!

Gift visit a vineyard in France and make your own wine

The neighbouring vineyard is planted with Chardonnay, and we crossed the road to take a look. Surprise! The vines were not pruned in the same way. Each grape varietal has its own specificities, and as the ethos at Domaine Chapelle is to concentrate on the work in the vineyard and then to let the wine express itself as naturally as possibly in the cellar, each vineyard plot is worked individually to maximise the potential of the coming harvest.

Yannick showed us how to tidy up the branches and attach them to the training wires. Even at this stage, we are working to control the number of grapes that each vine will produce, and to try and help the future grapes to reach maturity at the same time. We were then each given the chance to have a go ourselves!

Adopt your own vines and make your own wine with Gourmet Odyssey in Burbungy

Domaine Chapelle is organically certified, so we also took the time to discover what exactly that entails. What products are used? In what doses? What is the difference from conventional farming methods? Yannick answered our questions, and told us about some of the difficulties that they have had to overcome.

Back at the winery, the day finally drew to a close. We loaded the cars up with wine, and said our goodbyes, at least, until the next time!

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Harvest Experience Day in Chablis


Last weekend we were in Chablis with some of our Wine Experience clients for the Harvest Experience Days.  We followed the grapes journey from the vine to the fermentation tank!

Adopt a vine Gift. Harvest Experience day at Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis, France

We started the day in the vineyard, where we received our instructions on which grapes to harvest and which to leave.

Harvest Experience Gift for wine lovers. Harvest your own grapes in the vineyard.

Having been issued with our pair of secateurs and bucket, we spread out in twos between the vine rows to start harvesting.  The grapes this year in Chablis are very healthy and the buckets were quickly filled.  It wasn't long before the cries of "Porter" started ringing out in the vineyard.

Porter emptying his basket into the trailer

We took it in turns to be a porter.  Carrying a basket on our back, we went back and forth between the harvesters and the awaiting trailer.

Wine Tasting session of the estate's Chablis wines

A few hours harvesting makes for thirsty work, and we had well earnt our wine tasting at lunchtime!  We started with a Petit Chablis, and then tasted a few different Chablis and Chablis Premier Cru before finishing with a Chablis Grand Cru Valmur.  The tasting of the estate's wines continued over lunch.

Photo session of the adopted vines

In the afternoon we went to the Boissonneuse vineyard where the adopted vines are located.  We took a few minutes to take a few souvenir pictures!

The harvesting machine

On the Saturday afternoon, some harvesting machines were in operation nearby, so went and took a closer look!

Loading the harvested grapes into the press

Back at the winery, we went to the cuverie to pick up the trail of the harvest.   The grapes are loaded into a press which then extracts the juice form the each berry.

The fermentation tanks

We then followed the pipes to the fermentation tank where the juice will start its transformation into wine.  Here we learnt how the sugar will be broken down and turned into alcohol overt the coming weeks and months.

Tasting the grape juice

A final tasting to end the day - this time the juice from our harvest.  At first sight, it's not the most appealing of prospects as you look at a murky brown liquid, but even those who hesitated to try were agreeably surprised! Sweet with a fresh taste, we just have to wait patiently until next winter until the wine will finally be ready!

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Among friends in the Chablis Vineyards


We've just spent two glorious sunny days among the Chablis vines with some of the clients of the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience.  With Céline, Pierre and Yvonnick from Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard at our sides, we spent the day behind the scenes to get an insight into what it's like to be a winemaker!

Explaining the terroir around Chablis

Link to the video 

To get a better understanding of the terroir around us, we stepped out onto the terrace which overlooks the vines which encircle the winery.  It's an impressive view and the perfect spot to appreciate the difference in vineyard plots that make Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru wines.

Epamprage

In the vineyard, Yvonnick explained to us all of the key stages in cultivating the vines, from pruning right up until the harvest.  As is the custom with our Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience Days, the winemakers had left us some work to do!  To concentrate the energy of the vines in the fruit bearing branches and the grapes, we needed to do some "épamprage", which involves removing unwanted shoots from the vines.  These are the shoots that won't bear any fruit this year, and won't be needed when it comes to pruning to generate next year's harvest.  The other advantage of épamprage is to improve the flow of air around the grapes to help defend the vines from mildew.

Getting stuck in

After receiving our instructions from Yvonnick, we spread out among the rows of vines to get stuck in.  But we soon found out that épamprage is not quite as easy as it seems!

Adopt-a-vine

Each Wine Experience client is the adopted owner of some vines in the vineyard.  Their vines are identifiable by a name board placed in front of them.  Once the hunt for the vines was declared open, we set off to find them and to check that everything was in order!

Organic and biodynamic wine making

The Boissonneuse vineyard, where the adopted vines are located, was the first plot to be converted to organic and biodynamic cultivation.  Yvonnick explained the difference between these two approaches, and showed us some of the plants, found at the end of the vine rows, that are used in making the biodynamic infusions and concoctions that attract unwanted insects away from the vines, or are used to strengthen the vines.

Wine Tasting of the Chablis Wines at the Vineyard

After all our efforts and all the talk about wine, the time finally came to taste some of the wines from Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard.  To get a good appreciation of the range of wines, we started the wine tasting with a Petit Chablis Sainte Claire 2010, followed by a Chablis Sainte Claire 2010, before tasting the Boissonneuse 2009, the wine chosen by Gourmet Odyssey.  We then moved on to several Chablis Premier Crus and finished with a Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2009.

Exposed cut of the Kimmeridgien soil

Once we had enjoyed a lunch from the highly acclaimed Chablis charcutier, Marc Colin, we headed down into the cool or the cellar.  Here, the Brocard family has left one of the walls exposed so that we can see the layers of limestone and marl which are the source of the distinctive aromas and taste of Chablis wines.

Visit of the fermentation hall

The day finished with a visit to the fermentation hall to see the tanks and oak vats that are used to ferment and age the wines.  After a final tasting, straight from the vats, we said our goodbyes, everyone hopefully leaving with a better understanding of the fascinating profession of a winemaker!

Link to the video 

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What to get the person that has everything ?

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

From € 159

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