31 October, 2000

News October 2005

  • 15.-16.19.2005: The winegrowers from the Saint-Thierry area northwest of Rheims - this year the inhabitants of the village of Montigny-sur-Vesle - have completed their eighth celebration of the vineharvest. During that weekend tourists can old skilled trades such as the dégorgement à la volée (the temporary capsule is tipped and switched with the final cork) come alive. Harvestparties however are on the decline. Nobody has the time to receive tourists during the real vineharvest. On top of that you need a minimum of participants for a good party, and nowadays the vinepickers quite often accomodate themselves, which means that they are not even present at the farm for a party.

  • 17.10.2005: The latest numbers from the French agriculture statistics, Agreste, confirms what we alreay know. The vineharvest in Champagne was smaller this year than the year of records, 2004. The numbers for AOC-wines in Champagne in 2005:

    2005181.000 hl506.000 hl1.928.000 hl
    2004190.000 hl553.000 hl2.069.000 hl
    Decline - 5%- 8%- 7%

  • 18.10.2005: The 35-year old Italian, Nicola Roni, has been named as the best cellarman in the world in a competition, organized by the house of Laurent-Perrier and held in the home town of same Laurent-Perrier, Tours-sur-Marne. Signor Roni won in front of 5.000 collegues. The Italian reveals to our local newspaper, l'Union, that he especially likes tasting champagnes - fine with us - and that he likes to combine the bubbles with white truffles from Alba and seafood.

  • 19.10.2005: The income of the French luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) grew 12 percent in the first nine months this year compared with the same period last year, writes Just-drink.com. The division of wine- and strong alcohol of LMVH develops fast at the moment. Especially the champagne brands are doing well in the European and Japanese markets, whereas cognac is developing in the US and China.

  • 19.-22.10.2005: The world's biggest exhibition of equipment for sparkling wines - the Viteff in Épernay - has just been completed. We noted stoppers in other materials than cork. Certainly not an ordinary sight on a bottle of champagne. During the time of the exhibition a few awards were granted. There was one for the inventor of biodegradable string to use when tying up the vine in early spring. And another for physicist Gérard Liger-Belair for describing the process of the train de bulles, which is the rather poetic notion of the column of rising bubbles in the glass.

    356 stands from France and abroad, all in all 25.000 m2. 16.000 visitors from 22 countries.

    New times, new tops for the champagne.

  • 26.10.2005: French luxury group LMVH and a partner want to buy the house of Lanson, writes the Paris-based business newspaper, La Tribune. LMVH has not wanted to comment, but the paper quotes sources, apparently close to the negotiators. The price is guessed to be around 500 million euros. Four other possible buyers are said to be on the list of interesting buyers of the former Marne & Champagne. The current main shareholder of Lanson, the family Mora, says in a press release, that it has received 15 offers from France as well as abroad.

  • 28.10.2005: The income of American-owned Taittinger grew 1,8 percent in the first nine months of 2005, writes Just-drinks.com. However the surplus is not due to the merits of the champagnedivision. On the contrary Taittinger this year lost 2,3 million euros where it made 9,5 million euros in the same period last year. The champagne activities of Taittinger are still up for sale.

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    Copyright: The copyright for text and photos at bobler.blogspot.com belongs to Solveig Tange. You may use my articles, photos or parts of them for non-commercial use and if I am credited as the author. Feel free to link to this site but not in your own frameset please.

  • 30 October, 2000

    Oak barrels on the rise

    Oak barrels at the Viteff-exhibition in Épernay.

    In Champagne it is becoming still more popular to raise wines in oak barrels rather than in the industrial steelvats, that have been much in fashion since the sixties.

    Absolute topnames such as Krug and Bollinger have always been known for making their base wines in barrels, but now a younger and more well-educated generation of winemakers follow their footsteps.

    More work with barrels
    Emmanuel Fourny from Vertus explains to the British daily The Independent, that he produces a small third of his base wines in barrels. This part takes as much time as the two thirds that is made in big steelvats.

    The Fourny-champagne from barrel base wines is mainly sold in the US, Japan and Great Britain. And the British market is one of the explanations why you would turn backwards and work in a more old-fashioned and time-consuming way.

    Important British taste
    Great Britain has always been the biggest export market for the champagne, and very often it has been British taste that has pushed the development of the wine. Just remember how the British were first to enjoy the less sweet champagne - the brut - that is now standard for everyone today.

    This is of course why the producers in Champagne will always watch significant changes in the British taste closely. So, if the British want oak and the more subtle aromas this brings to the still wine - notes of vanilla, coco and brioche - let them have it.

    From the big, profesionnal Viteff-exhibition, that took place in Épernay between October 19th and 22th the producers of the Vicard-barrels confirm the tendency. Selling oak barrels to champagne producers is on the rise.

    På vores kooperativ lagrer reservevinen på egefad.

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    29 October, 2000

    Yellow leaves

    Mumm's mill at Verzenay in Montagne de Reims.

    During the last six weeks we have followed the changing of colours of the vineleaves from green, passing through orange and red and finally transforming into the terminal yellow, that is now very prominent.

    Yellow is the last colour before the vinter. When the plots are completely dressed in yellow - and that will not be long now - it is only a matter of time, before the vines strip off to expose a brown confusion of branches.

    This is where the annual cycle of the vine will be over. The sap will leave the young stems and sink downwards to spend the winter in the knobbed main stem in a state of concentration in order to protect the vine against frost.

    Soon we will think about removing the agrafes - the clamps of plastic that has kept the next-to-uppermost and double steel-wire together since spring. This will also be the time to unhook the same double thread and put it on the ground. The big task of the winter - the pruning - moves closer.

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    Copyright: The copyright for text and photos at bobler.blogspot.com belongs to Solveig Tange. You may use my articles, photos or parts of them for non-commercial use and if I am credited as the author. Feel free to link to this site but not in your own frameset please.

    Black Sun in Champagne

    Flocks of starlings gorge in champagne-grapes at Avize.

    The starlings have landed in Champagne.

    At this time of the year we usually see them when we drive along the highway between Épernay and Avize in the area that is called Côte de Blancs. It is the same huge groups of starlings that we in the end of the summer see forming flocks and forage along the Danish Wadden Sea. Now in the middle of October they have reached Northern France.

    The flocks must be counted in hundred thousands maybe millions. They seem to enjoy resting in the big and rather flat piece of land, that starts south of Épernay and continues to the other side of le Mesnil, all is covered with vineyards. However there is always more birds at Avize.

    Again and again the starlings spin around. They settle, they take off en masse and fly a bit onwards, whilst swirling around in movable patterns as in a kaleidoscope. And as Danes may know it from the phenomenon "Black Sun" in the marshlands at Tønder in Southern Jutland in late summer and early spring. Just before the migration.

    The birds like the grapes. My mother-in-law remembers how she used to cover the vineyards with wire netting, but this action is no longer necessary. The grapeharvest now generally takes place in the end of September, so nowadays the grapes are gone as the starlings arrive. However they do not mind a treat of the grapes that were not mature during the grapeharvest and may still be rather acid. And for the sake of variation they are only happy to party with the winter wheat seeds of unlucky farmers.

    From the landscape windows at the wine educationcentre in Avize you have the most wonderful view of the ballet of birdwings. In this spot they will also tell you, that passers-by take interest in the phenomenon as well. Several drivers have had accidents when following the birds with their eyes rather than the road.

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    Copyright: The copyright for text and photos at bobler.blogspot.com belongs to Solveig Tange. You may use my articles, photos or parts of them for non-commercial use and if I am credited as the author. Feel free to link to this site but not in your own frameset please.

    Hazy hours, sleepy days

    Sea of vine in misty haze. Outside Verzenay.

    A bluish haze has replaced the clear Indian Summer of the happy days of the vendange. The vineyards and the villages in our part of the Montagne de Reims lies as an ethereal and misty vision the major part of the day.

    Gone are the colomns of tractors and vans with their grapeboxes on the way to the presses. Gone are the temporary gipsy camps. Gone the extra hands hired to pick the grapes. The quiet times is up, and well in tune with the weather.

    Many of the locals find the weather dull. They prefer to see the sun every day, and at the moment it seems to have very little time to spend in our company. Should there be any at all, it is likely to be for a short while only and in the very late afternoon.

    It is the third time, I experience this quiet pretty weather, and I love it. Not a wind moves, and the temperatures reach up to 20 degrees Celsius in the end of the afternoon. The overall range of colours stay in the soft end of the blue, grey and green. But not for long now.

    Autumn leaves on Pinot Noir in Verzy.

    Since it is right now that the wine performs the last supreme effort before winter. The green leaves is moving into the fantastic colour palette of the autumn. It is in these weeks, that the colour of the leaves changes from green and into fantastic combinations of yellow, orange and red.

    When the first frost is here, the symphony of colours will end. The leaves can fall in one single day, which is the end of the green cycle of the wine. Then the hibernation period begins. The sleepy atmosphere everywhere however is only apparent. The winemakers continue their work indoors.

    The must of the grapes has now fermentated into the first still wine or wines in the cuveries at both small and big producers. From each plot and each variety of wine (cépage) there is a still wine to make. In our family we have three different plots, planted with Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, thus supplying us with six different wines or crus, that can be blended in different ways and proportions to create different styles of champagne.

    The young still wine is still kept in tanks like these.

    Around the month of December the wine will be tasted and the future blending of it decided. Champagne - unlike other wines - is blended, and the final blend can consist of many different still wines.

    When the final blend has been done - some time during next year - it will be transferred to bottles in the proces called tirage. That is when the second fermentation will start, and this is the period, where the bubbles develop.

    In English

    Copyright: The copyright for text and photos at bobler.blogspot.com belongs to Solveig Tange. You may use my articles, photos or parts of them for non-commercial use and if I am credited as the author. Feel free to link to this site but not in your own frameset please.

    The world wants bubbles

    The owners of the Domaine Collin produce Blanquette de Limoux - the oldest sparkling wine in France - the AOC is based in the department of Aude close to the Pyrenees.

    The global market cannot get enough bubbly, it seems. During the last 10 years the world market for sparkling wines has grown 4,5 percent each year. Quite opposed to the market for still wines, that has more or less stalled with a growth of only two percent in the last 10 years.

    Onivins, the body of wine of the French authorities, explains the popularity partly with the fact that sparkling wines are so festive.

    Europe is the so far unmatched producer of sparklers. France is first with 510.000 bottles, Germany follows second with 410.000 bottles of Sekt, and Italy and Spain each produce about half the amount of Germany with 230.000 bottles of Spumante and 215.000 bottles of Cava.

    Champagne sold 300.000 million bottles in 2004 which equals a growth of 2,4 percent. Not bad when you compare to the otherwise crises-stricken rest of the French winebusiness. However cheaper sparklers such as the Blanquette de Limoux with a growth of eight percent in France and 10 percent for exports does perform even better. Crémant de Limoux has had a growth of 30 percent and crémant d'Alsace a growth of 21 percent. The Blanquette and the Crémant from Limoux sell well in the States and Great Britain wheras Crémant from Alsace is popular in Germany.

    The Germans like to drink sparkling wine, most of the consumption however - 81 percent - is covered by the local fizz, Sekt. 17,3 million bottles of Sekt is exported. The biggest producer Schloss Wachenheim has a marketshare of 22,5 percent. The secondbiggest producers are Rotkäppchen-Mum and Henkell-Söhnlein. The consumption of sparkling wine in Germány has currently stalled after a decrease in 2003 of 2,5 percent.

    Only a small part (16 million bottles) of the Italian production of sparkling wine (230 million bottles) are made according to the traditional method**, where the second fermentation takes place in the final bottle. Producers Berlucchi (4,6 million bottles) and Ferrari (4,5 million bottles) produce the major part of traditional fizz. The homemarket is - like France and Germany - big, since almost three out of four Italians (74 percent) drink sparkling wine. 50 million bottles are exported, mainly to Germany, the States, Great Britain, Australia and Russia.

    The major part (95 percent) of the sparkling wine from Spain - Cava - comes from the Penedes-area in Catalonia. The 215 million bottles sold in 2004 represent a growth of five percent. Freixenet - wellknown Spanish sparkler - produces more than one third of the Spanish fizz (36,5 percent) and Cordoniu with 38,4 percent is well beyond another third.

    Several areas in Australia produce sparkling wines following the traditional method**. This applies to Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills and Tasmania. Australia today is the fifth producer of wine worldwide and the fourth exporter.

    The numbers are from a special edition of the professional magazine "Champagne Viticole" out due to the annual exhibition of anything related to the champagne and sparkling wine business. It takes place in Épernay between October 19th and 22nd.

    ** "Traditional method" or "methode champenoise" means that the second fermentation takes place in the bottle like a bottle of champagne. Another and cheaper method is to let the wine ferment the second time in big tanks and later transfer the fizz to the final bottle.

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    Copyright: The copyright for text and photos at bobler.blogspot.com belongs to Solveig Tange. You may use my articles, photos or parts of them for non-commercial use and if I am credited as the author. Feel free to link to this site but not in your own frameset please.

    21 October, 2000

    Sunday trip

    The Pinot Meunier is so mature, you can eat it.

    Sunday, the seventh day of the harvest, we have returned to our first location, two villages further away from the farm and Soulieres to pick blue Pinot Meunier-grapes. Vi started with them on the first day but had to continue with the green Chardonnay-grapes, because the cooperative at that time was finished crusching the blue ones. You dont mix them up, and since we are in the peripherique of the Blanc de Blancs area with mainly green grapes, we had to follow the others and pick the green grapes before, even they were less mature.

    In the meantime our Meunier has been too mature some of them; so from early morning we get instructions to only take the big and pretty grapes and either leave the rest or put in on the floor. The cold weather adds a pretty frosted touch to the deep blue colour of the grapes to enjoy and to try to forget about the only six degrees Celsiuswe start out in. Only after the mass has started in nearby Loisy-en-Brie - we hare the bells as we work - the sun gets the power that makes it possible to work in a t-shirt only.

    Short after lunch I am saved by the bell and visitors from Paris. The energi is low, down to the level of throughly exhausted, so half a day of less work is very welcome. Once again we visit the coop with numerous other familydelegations with dogs, little children, grandmothers and so on. Today the workers at the coop has more time. The parking lot that was full of tractors and white vans last wednesday is now empty most of the time, and the workers have time to explain what they are doing. The asfalt and more or less anythuing else is very sticky due to grapejuice freshly made. It also smells grape juice everywhere.

    We are offered samples of the new juice in little glasses to taste, and I can tell you, that it tastes very good, sweet and a bit acid. It seems to be one of few years where both quality and quantity will reach the top.

    So far we have harvested all in all 46.000 kilo grapes - the quota says 12.000 kilo per hectar for champagne, 2000 kilo per hectar for reserve, 2000 kilo per hecar for vin ordinaire, that can be sold to other champagnehouses and finally 800 kilos per hectar for wine for own use. So now that smart guy with the calculator can if he does dome additions and multiplications prove that we will be finished during tomorrow.

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    Harvest finished

    To the marvellous harvest of 2004.

    ”Oh la la la laaaa”, is what we hear from Nathalies side of the row one time after another. On the eighth and last day of the grapeharvest we are supposed to fill nine time twelve boxes of 50 kilos each with Chardonnay. It takes time. It is only five days ago we were here in “Vieilles Grandmeres” for the last time, but now the green grapes are so overmature, that they are rotting. I am grateful for my green latex-gloves even if one finger is almost gone with the scissors we use. 75 percent of the grapes are red with rot – a tragic sight – and David and Alex are less busy emptying baskets simply because there are less good grapes.

    We are sure to finish today, leader Gerard says 8 days is the maximum you can work hard like this and according to another veteran – Jocelyne – you must not think of it as the last day. Then it gets too difficult to feel motivated.

    In the afternoon we change fields to ”Belles Feuilles” that still is worthy of its pretty name. Here the grapes hang heavily, and the sun forces the thermometer up on the other side of 20 degrees Celsius. Could you possibly end the harvest in a nicer way? We are to pick Pinot Meunier for the wine Gerard as winegrower is entitled to get from the cooperative. And since the grapes are so pretty, many and we have got most of the afternoon just for them, Gerard gets demanding and wants only the biggest and blackest of the blue grapes.

    After finishing the necessary quota follows the big grapekilling. It is impossible to pick everything – whatever governments may demand – so instead we cut grapes that taste sweet as candy to leave them on the ground to rot. It is simply not possible to eat the surplus of grapes of 15.000 kilos per hectar. A little bit of them however can be used in the following war of grapes, that follows the official end at five o’clock. Grapejuice is incredibly sticky, but sticky you already are after a full days work.

    Sounding the horn and yelling “terminé” each time we pass teams that are not yet through this the last day of the grapeharvest ends with a party. 14 bottles of champagne we empty in the mild octobernight, that stays warm until hours after midnight. Just the way Muriel likes it, not too cold and with a lot of grapes. The grapes of 2004 are delivered, and seem to be rather good.

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    Goodbye for now

    The two chefs - Annie & Annick - in the service of extra kilos.

    10 o’clock in the morning, the team is ready to go home – the harvest is over for this year – and it is a bit sad to say so long. We have lived like one big family for the last week. It has been fun, hard and different, and now wit is back to everyday life for everybody.

    Also Annick who with Gerards wife Annie has been cooking again and again, preparing three dishes for both lunch and dinner and filled the basket with coffee and cake for the breaks for the last week. We have eaten well – everything from rabbit over Boef Bourgignon to Choucroute, kilos of Clafoutis-cake with cherries or apple, prunepies and puddings and pan cakes en masse – during the grapeharvest it is not unusual to gain 2-3 kilos even though you work hard fysically. And there is a reason for that. The two ladies have for nine days again and again asked their dinner- or lunchguests to have some more of their heavy food, and eventually some will stay.

    Gerard must get used to work alone in the farm again. Muriel, Jean-Michel, Michael, Philipe, Jovelyne, Jean, Laurent and Nathalie all take the train back to Le Havre, while Laetizia, Alexandre and Xavier stay one more day. The men have another days work cleaning the boxes before these are stored in the attic for the next year.

    In the late afternoon we go back to Verzy. The excitement has gone or maybe more correctly have been turned into good experience and most of the seasonal workers here has now left the scene. A few places along the road – for instance Louvois, Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger – they still harvest. Bended backs along the rows, boxes full of grapes at the road, heavy tractors on the way to the press and the smell of fresh grapejuice in the villages tell, that the big week of Champagne has not yet come completely to the end.

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    18 October, 2000

    The new wine

    In seven days this grapejuice will have turned into wine.

    The harvest of grapes is now completely done. Also here in Verzy we don't see more jeeps with grapes smashed on the front and wineleaves at the windowcleaners. No more grapejuice under our shoes, which is quite nice, since it dilutes the tar on the streets. And no more glances through open gates to the facilities of the neighbours such as presses, tanks, high pressure water machines, tractors and not to forget caves. God only knows how many kilometers of caves we live on top of here.

    For us the rest of the process from grape to ready, drinkable bottle with golden paper, bubbles and the whole thing takes place at the cooperative in Vertus. With 220 other owners we have through the 10 days of the harvest delivered about 120 tons grapes for the presses each day.

    One pressing - a marc - takes four hours. The grapes are pressed twice through that period. The first one - la cuvée - results in 4100 litres of grapejuice. The second - la taille - give another 1000 litres. This year extraordinary many grapes of extraordinary good quality have been delivered at the coop, that now has ended up with the luxurious problem of having extraordinary amounts of wine. That means that this year the juice from the taille will probably not be used in the final products.

    When the pressing is finished the juice is led into tall tanks, where it stays for the next 12-24 hours. As the time passes, sediments will sink to the bottom of the tank. From there they can be pumped out, before the rest of the juice will be led into what in the good old days would have been big, wooden, barrels.

    But the good old days in Champagne like in many other places are not what they once were. Forget romantism and imagine instead 24 big steel tanks of 30.000 litres each where the temperature can be kept contantly at 18 degrees Celsius. This is where the grapejuice with some yieldst added will fermentate to wine. Seven days later mission completed. Now some of the wine is ready to be picked up by big champagnehouses, that buy the wine of the coop to blend it with their own.

    The rest of the wine stays in the tanks to calm down. Probably not before December the leader of the cooperative, who is also the oenologist, Laurent, will with the owners taste the new wine and get an idea about its future destiny. A champagne must always taste the same, if it is not the case from nature, you must help it in the right direction, which is done by blending different pressings and years. Only the Millésimé-wines - the best years - are not blended. And so far it seems that 2004 will be one of them. We will know more in December.

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    A helping hand from mr Frost

    Only frost can make these grapes disappear fast.

    The wine is just about to skip its skirts and put the leaves on the floor. In the next weeks we shall see, who has followed the rules from the Ministry (of Agriculture) strictly and harvested everything, and who instead now hopes for help from mister Frost. The leaves come down as the weather cools, but the grapes stay unless the frost kills them before.

    This year there were so many grapes on the plants, that only half of them could be used for champgne. The Ministry also decides how many kiloes of grapes you must deliver to the press per hectar. That quota were for us fullfilled after 8 days of work for 12 people, so to cut the rest would take if not another eight days still considerable extra time. A lot of money, so... the grade of strict obedience vary here and there.

    On the slopes around Verzy all grapes from the plants following the roads have been nicely cut. The oldest of them probably in the first harvest days, since they now look rather humble as they lie completely dry under the plants. Others have been cut later, so with their sweet-sour smell and faded black-purple colour they are now only entering the terminal deathfase. Further away from the big road and likely controls kiloes of grapes still cling to the branches.

    A similar sight you find in those of our rows that never saw the scissors during the harvest. Too many grapes, too little time, too few people. But since the plant may gave a smaller crop next year if it has not at all been harvested, we spend yet another sunday afternoon putting grapes to the ground. That will ease the pruning too, a job that keeps thousands of people here occupied during the winter, since the branches that are cut off normally are burned. That however is not possible if you still find kiloes of juicy grapes on the branches.

    We therefor pray for a bit of good strong frost - no less than 3-4 degrees Celsius below zero - to finish the last grapes by freezing them until they explode. So now we on top of the changing of colours, amount of leaves also follow the temperature each morning. So far with our temperatures of more than 10 degrees Celsius mister Frost has to come a long way to be of any help here.

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    02 October, 2000

    A good team

    Towards the end the team is well worked together.

    After the sixth day of the grapeharvest the two white Cintroëns on top of the 10 pickers contain further five basket full of grapes. They are meant for Michael.

    The harvest has traditions of its own, and la Baptême is one of them. Generally debutants will have their trousers wet, as the work lacks towards the end. This year it seems to be grapes rather than water. Even Michael is not the only new member of the team this year, he is by far the one who talks more, makes more jokes and throws more grapes at others than anybody else. Today revenge stretches its long arm after him. So he is finally hunted down on the land across the farm, until he finally surrenders and accepts to have 30 kilos of grapes and another seven-eight kilos carefully jumped into juice down his neck.

    Amongst the 11 extra people working here Muriel is the veteran. During 10 years she has come now, and she is also the person, that links everybody else together. Brother-in-lawe, cousins, collegues and so on. Most of them come to work here during their holiday - from jobs such as baker, butcher, worker in a factory. Others are unemployed, and probably dont do other work during the year. Common for everybody is that they enjoy the special atmosphere of school camp and home that you create, when you work, eat and sleep together with other.

    You dont get rich from the officiel tarif for the wages. When people like here also get lodging, they will make around 3000 kroner for one weeks work, so few probably come only for that.

    It is difficult to get the works needed. The need is big in Champagne, hvor all grapes are harvest manually, and a good picker of grapes can take 500 kilos in a day in an area, that this year has produced 30.000 kilo grapes per hectar. Gipsies from Southern France come here to make the hole family work in the winefields. In the outskirts of each village, you see their caravans and mobile homes, in the early morning, when it is still not daylight, they group at the rows with even very small children that work too. Also people from Eastern Europe are attracted by the work - some in more legal ways than others - which is a reason why la gendarmerie are busy in the roads these days.

    The people here all come from Normandy - year after year for many of them - this is work everybody can do - and it creates a certain feeling of belonging not to say of being familiar with each other for at least this one week in the year. I feel the same - I cannot use my knowledge to much at the moment, but I can harvest grapes without any other problems than the fysical. And then I count on understanding a few more of the jokes next year.

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    01 October, 2000

    Belles Feuilles

    The prettiest Chardonnay are from "Belles Feuilles"

    The fifth day is through, and every grape in “Belles Feuilles” has been harvested and driven to Vertus. “Belles Feuilles” means pretty leaves, and it is the name of one of the three areas, we will harvest. That takes places otday, fridag, in pretty sunshine, 20 degrees Celsius and mild wind.

    The plants don’t let the rather demanding name down, because this is where we find the probably most beautiful Chardonnay-grapes, we will see this year. The skin is green turning slightly yellow with little black dots. Perfectly mature and without any kind of problems. On top of that add, that there has never been more grapes here according to uncle Michel who harvest the rows next to ours and in his sixty years something life haz seen quite a few grapes.

    These “Belles Feuilles” he has planted himself back in 1968 with Alains father and grandfather, so they are carry a bit of familyhistory. Before they had many problems for instance with taking the necessary nutriments from the soil. Alain explains how it has been necessary to dig little holes at each plants root to put iron and water, that the plants were not able to take out of the ground themselves. The wineplants are more or less their how weight worth in gold, and is caressed and taken care of like little children.

    Today these plants deliver the most perfectly matured and healthy green grapes from this farm. The amount of grapes however is less than that from the other areas “Vieilles Grandmeres” and “les Crochettes”, so even the most tiny grape is harvested, and nothing is left at the foot any longer. All in all we manage to harvest 6000 kilos, a bit less than the other days. The muscles are now less sore, the tiredness is getting worse… Anyway, todays resultat is not at all bad, says foreman Gerard, who however doesn’t want to ruin the good working habits of the team with too much positive talking. After all there is still work for probably another 2,5 days.

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