23 August, 2016

Green grapes move into the blue


Summer has come to Champagne these last days with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius.

Nice for the grapes, nice for us as well as the sunshine contributes to deal with different problems due to bad weather this far.

As you can see the Pinot-grapes have begun to change from the summery acid green to move into the shades of blue.

That is the last part of the cycle before the maturity wanted at the grapeharvest.

So welcome blues. We will count the days.

26 July, 2016

GUDDOMMELIG favorit


"Kære Solveig,

Så har jeg smagt den første glade "Noirs & Blancs".
Der er kun én ting at sige - DEN ER GUDDOMMELIG!!!!!

Jeg har fundet min favorit blandt alle!"

Sådan skrev en kunde for en uges tid siden.

Dejligt at høre og fint at dele.

Hvilken champagne er din favorit?

24 July, 2016

Sidste Tour-etape: Gult og prikket


Vi er da ret stolte over at se Københavns nok guleste etiket være med til at åbne Tour'ens sidste etape på TV 2.

Gætter på at kjolerne også hører til de mest prikkede.

Bobler er vel også en slags prikker, og den gule etiket sidder på Champagne Tange-Gerards Blanc de Blancs 2010.

Den smager aldeles glimrende også hvis du ikke lige har østers ved hånden.

Hvis du skal bruge en flaske til afslutningen i dag, fås den hos le Petit vinbar i Torvehallerne, København, frem til kl. 19-20 stykker.

Franskest: Tour eller champagne


Få ting er mere fransk end champagne.

Det skulle da lige være Tour de France, som har rullet gennem landet, såvel som henover fladskærmen i Soulieres de seneste uger. Min svigermor kan nemlig godt lide at se levende billeder fra alverdens franske landsbyer.

Slutter med gult
For nogle år siden var Tour'en i Champagne. Her runder rytterne en rundkørselen ved Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. Det tog dem vel en 30 sekunders tid alt i alt for alle deltagere, så det var bare med at holde øjnene stive. Vi havde ventet i tre timer på disse få sekunder. Det var det værd alligevel. Tilbage i 2012.

2016-udgaven slutter senere i dag, når manden i gult er nået hele vejen op ad Champs-Élysées.

Det kan du følge med i på dansk TV 2 fra kl. 14.10. Holder du ud hele vejen, skulle der dukke noget med både gult og bobler op på et tidspunkt. Det gad jeg personligt godt se :-)



05 July, 2016

Durability

This is one of our vineyards in Loisy-en-Brie.

We have worked here together for more than ten years. Alain on his own much longer.

Many rules
Here in Champagne the way we grow the vines are rather fixed. But within the rules, the many rules, you can still introduce new ways, other features that may, or may not, work better than what you used to do.

So every year, Alain will find something to change to see if it can be done in a smarter way.

Thank you French engineer school :-)

This year the biggest news by far will be what is happening tomorrow.

Certification for durability
We will have an audit to be certified as viticulture durable. It's not yet organic but a nice long step in the direction. And as far as we can move at the moment.

But then again, that quite a step forward. It is only four years ago we gained full control of all vineyards thus only four years ago could we begin the change.

And look the opposite direction.

This is still Loisy-en-Brie. One of our vineyards. Greener than ever.





04 July, 2016

Happy days for weeds


Weeds. We don't really want them in the vineyards.

Mechanical or chemical
There are two solutions: The mechanical solution or the chemical one.

So far we have used chemicals. We had no choice.

However, this year we finally were able to buy the tools needed to work the soils instead.

Difficult to plough
Just about non stop rain has made it a very difficult task to work with the tractor. Since you better avoid heavy material when the soils are wet and soft in order not to compress too much.

This week Alain finally managed to plough some of the plots.

Others still are a great deal greener than we like at the bottom. And once these climbing things reach the vines you need your hands and quite a lot of time.

Well, another monday approaching, we've got weeds for everybody with spare hands.

29 June, 2016

So nice to cut stems: it means no rain


Finally, the tops of the vines have been cut in all plots.

As the stems grow longer, they become quite heavy as well, and the vineyard grows more and more chaotic.

Shorter lengths help to control this otherwise rather uncontrollable growth.


This season the weather has been rather uncontrollable.

Lots and lots of rain has made it rather difficult to find time to do this job.

As you cannot drive the enjambeur tractor in the plots when it's too wet.

There is the risk of sliding.

But even worse, the weight of the machine may compress the soils which anyone would want to avoid.


So we have done other things as we waited for better times, better days.

And less rain.

Well, yesterday was such a day, and now the job is done.


For some time anyway.

In a week's time the next set of stems will have grown longer. And then it will be their turn to have their tops cut.

One of summer's pleasures. Or whatever.

This year it's sort of nice to cut since it means no rain for a little bit of time.

27 June, 2016

Chardonnay between flowers and rain


A crucial stage for Chardonnay and the other grape varieties: The flowering.

We saw the first flowers of the year last week.

Grapes need sun
The weather is rather crucial at this time.

Good conditions - sun, warm temperatures though not too warm and a bit of wind - will determine the amount of grapes.

Well, we are not very optimistic. To be frank with you.

Rain complicates work
This year we have incredibly difficult conditions to work with.

Rain almost every day which makes it very difficult to do a good job in the vineyards as we are dependent on the tractor which cannot be send through when the soils are too wet.

The combination of a very humid air due to the heavy and frequent rain and rather warm weather especially when the sun peeps through helps advancing disease more than grapes.

But... we do what we can. So far, we are quite happy to finally spot flowers.



16 June, 2016

Just before the flowers


Despite the endless rain we endure in Champagne, the grapes do develop.

From small apple-looking green little things a few days ago, we now see them slowly opening here and there.

Each little thing will open to let a flower out.

This is the next crucial step since the flowers must be pollinated for a grape to be developpned.

Some come rain, come shine... we believe, we have seen the rain, now we'd like some shine to finish this nicely.


The first flowers are reported now, we expect to see them in the days to come.

13 June, 2016

Lifting


Another monday morning in Champagne, and what are we up to at the office?

There's always work to do. We tend to choose the tasks that are urgent, the rest can wait.

Like updating the website, work on an idea on how to label future bottles. Find customers for them.

Because rain or shine, shorts or coats, rubber boots morning, midday and afternoon. The vines grow.


And thus we lift the wires.

In fact, we have been lifting the wires all week.

Low wires, high wires. First hook.

The next will follow. Soon enough.



Before we put the agrafe in place, we push the stems a bit to the side to create enough space for the little piece of wood.

Each autumn we collect these to reuse them again until they get weaker and eventually break.


This is the first part of the lifting. Many stems don't yet have the length to reach the upper double wire, and we will have to place it manually.

Because of this we only put one agrafe at this time. Later we will put more, one between each plant to seperate them nicely and make sure that the stems with many grapes are well exposed for the sun.

The low wires stay side by side due to another type of agrafe that looks like white plastic. In fact, it's made of starch, thus it's biodegradable and saves us a round-trip of collection.


Thanks to the lifting the stems stand nicely upright, rather than climb or bend towards the neighbouring lines of vines.

Collegues in other villages have begun to cut the tops of the vines. Soon we will follow.

These ones have the length and the position as well. Due to the lifting.