Our grapes have now been harvested, and all ladies and gentlemen that have been handling them are back in their normal lifes. The impressions from the vendange of our remote corner of the Côte de Blancs are:
And this is what they looked like: Pinot Meunier
and Chardonnay. Really nice and hardly any disease at all.
The 10 pickers work with either bended backs or knees.
They work in teams of two, one on each side of a row.
The grapes are put in a basket, that is emptied in big 50 kg boxes, driven through the rows on caterpillars.
The vendange of 2005 has featured 15 procent more lifts than normal because of the big grapes.
The truck of Gérard contains about one fifth of a days work, that is two pallets or around 1200 kg of grapes.
Queing up at the coop where more than 200 members deliver their production.
The grapes are weighed and registered.
8000 kg of grapes ready for the press: A marc.
The grapes are transported on pallets and poured into the press manually.
Chardonnay is distributed in one of the five presses.
The cover of the press clicks. The proces lasts four hours.
New must from the grapes. The big vessel is for la cuvée (what comes out of the first part of the pressing which is around 4100 litres), the small vessel is for la taille (what comes out of the second part of the pressing which is around 1000 litres). Only la cuvée is used for champagne.
In the basement under the presses the must is tapped from the vessels connected with the presses to tall tanks covered with tiles.
The must stays in the tiled tanks in 24 hours. During this period the biggest impurities will sink to the bottom.
After this first cleaning the must is pumped into big steeltanks where it fermentates the first time. After seven days the must has been transformed to still wine. However there is quite some time and work to go before it becomes champagne.
Skål, santé... and see you around in 2006.