31 January, 2001

News January 2006

A bit of pink romance for Saint Valentine's Day? These Rosé de Saignée-champagnes have one star in the wineguide of Hachette, so they can easily be drunk the rest of the year as well.

14.02.2006: The commercial - and maybe even romantic hit - named Saint Valentine's Day strikes back in Midfebruary. In Great Britain several hotels use the opportunity to spread the rose petals and equip their presidential suites with rosé (champagne that is) in the coolers and silk linen on the beds. The top champagne Dom Pérignon has announced that it will present its new vintage rosé 1996 in the British toprestaurant The Fat Duck, writes winemagazine Decanter. The rather expensive champagne will cost 220 pund. In Denmark vintage 1995 cost around 2.000 Danish kroner for a bottle.

10.01.2006: Can you decant a bottle of champagne? Yves Chappier, chairman of the association of sommeliers in Champagne-Ardenne, says to our local newspaper l'Union, that you must decide whether you want to drink champagne or wine. A bottle of champagne will loose some of the bubbles as you decanter. But then again, you may choose to do it in the end of the meal in order to ease the digestion, says spokesman for the CIVC, Daniel Lorson. The chairman of the French oenologues, Thierry Gasco, says, that you can decanter if it pleases your guests. But the carafe must be presented at the table immediately after, he warns.

16.01.2006: A Southafrican winecompany has doubled the sales after a succesful campaign directed at the fast growing blogging community. Stormhoek offered a free bottle of wine to taste and comment on. Around 100 bottles of wine - vintage 2004 and 2005 - were delivered around Europa via the blog Gabingvoid. The sales of the company doubled from 50.000 boxes in 2004 to 100.000 in 2005, says a spokesman for Stormhoek, Nick Dymoke Marr, to Decanter. It is not likely, that someone in Champagne should ever get the same good idea, since the cheapest bottles here start at a price level 2,5 times the one of the offered Stormhoek-bottles.

17.01.2006: The sales of champagne in 2005 seems to reach a new record of 307 million bottles. A progress of 1,8 percent compared to 2004, says La Champagne Viticole. The positive numbers derives from the months August to December. Declining sales in the first half of 2005 is the reason why a rather low and conservative quota of 11.500 kilos of grapes per hectar was settled at the grapeharvest, says Patrick Le Brun, who is chairman for Syndicats Général des Vignerons to La Champagne Viticole. Since then - and because of the good sales in the last period of the year - another 500 kilos per hectar will be released from the reserves from February 17th. This means that still wine from an equivalent of 500 kilos of grapes per hectar can be sold by winegrowers and bought by houses, who want to produce more champagne.

17.01.2006: La Champagne Viticole sums up the total stocks of champagne to 1001 million bottles. This means that in the caves around Champagne are stored a number of bottles that corresponds with the sales of 3,3 years. Non vintage champagnes must age at least 15 months and vintage champagnes at least three years.

31.01.2006: Topbordeaux and champagne as well - Château Margaux and Krug - were on the tables, as the two Google-founders invited world leaders from the political and econimical world to party during the annual get-together, World Economic Forum, in swiss Davos. Larry Page and Serge Brin served Krug magnumbottles vintage 1990 for several hundred guests, amongst them Israeli deputy prime minister, Shimon Peres.

På dansk

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.

26 January, 2001

First stage in the schoolvine over

This pruning shears can handle most branches if you hold it correctly... and that, dear reader, is not like this!

The first day in the course on how to prune the vine is over. We are 25 in the group, and our young teacher has spent a great deal of the day to explain - in rather many details - how the final exam will pass off. On top of that the little slips you may fall into, big enough however to send you right out of the game. She sure knows how to motivate.

We are familiar with the dates as well. On March 31st and April lst, in the village of Bisseul, that houses schoolvines as well, we can get the abilities, we are supposed to gain today and the following nine thursdays, tested by a grand jury of three, profesionnels such as teachers, vignerons and staff from the CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne).

A useful paper
Of course it is not at all necessary to do the test, but why not, urges our prof. The paper is recognized in the area as what you need to work in the vineyards.

And you sure need paper to work there. A guy from the group explains, that he already tried to look for jobs in the vineyards. Even proposed to work for free in order to obtain the experience and knowledge he lacks. Nobody was interested. Since it takes one man to educate another, and why would you educate a stranger for free?

Vines pruned the Chablis-way with old charpentes.

So now he is in school with the rest of us, who are here for different reasons: Unemployment, necessary education before you join the family business and vignerons like Alain, who are here to pick up one or two details.

There is no public presentation of names and background. My ears are almost popping out of my head to try to catchr what each and everyone whispers. Not easy. I will have to do the talking once we are in the vineyards. That is if I have time for it. The pracical part of the pruning does not come easily to me.

Chablis and Cordon de Royat
During this and the next 10 thursdays we will be taught two methods of pruning. Both are accepted all over Champagne no matter the classifications of the grapes (grand cru, premier cru, autres crus): Chablis and Cordon de Royat, both usable for all grape varieties.

Further two ways of pruning exist: Vallée de la Marne, which is only allowed for non-classified Meunier like ours, and Guyot, which is allowed for non classified grapes of all types (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier).

The pruning of the vines has several objectives:

  • To get a good balance between the surface of the leaves, the amount of grapes and the amount of wood.
  • To help the grapes mature and secure their quality and amount.
  • To give the vine a certain shape to facilitate the works with the tractors and also make the pesticides work more efficiently.
  • Pruning makes a vine live longer, you prevent it from wearing itself down.
  • You strengthen the plant when you remove branches that are not fertile in order not to waste the precious sap in too many branches that do not grow grapes anyway.

    A Chablis-pruned Chardonnay-vine. Charpentes and lancement can be seen, the rachet must be around as well.

    Rachet, lancement and charpente
    We begin with the Chablis-method - our teacher, Stéphanie - finds it the most complicated and thinks we might as well get it over and done with.

    She is a fresh outdoor girl, it seems. Wearing two fleecejackets and red chins but neither bonnet nor gloves even the wind is a cold one straight North, she squats with her pruning scissors to demonstrate the secrets of the Chablis. She works methodically, already a big change for me who compare with Alains preferred way of attacking everywhere at the same time. So it seems to me anyway. This is much more appropriate for learning:

  • First we must choose the little one - the technical term is the rachet - this is the rejuvenation of the plant, and the most important part of the pruning. First of all you choose a beau bois from the bottom of the plant to use. Then you cut in a heigth of two buds. From these two new shoots will grow, and they will produce grapes next year if they develop well.

  • Next thing to deal with is the long branch, which has grown since last year. It is called the lancement, and will probably grow into a new charpente, that is if it develops nicely. It is placed in a vertical position and cut so just one bud is left on top of the upper wire. This branch has the second priority after the rachet in case you have to choose.

  • Finally we must clean up the three old charpentes and last years lancement, which now will be promoted to a charpente if it is strong and vigorous enough. You begin cleaning in the right corner and work your way leftwards. In this way the younger one is normally dealt with as the first. A healthy shoot is chosen on the one year old part of the charpente - this is the prolongement - and it is pruned one bud on top of the second row of thread just like the lancement. All other branches are removed. The second charpente is dealt with similarly. We just have to make sure that there is at least 30 centimetres between the two prolongements. On top of that the shoots that will come from the buds of the two prolongements must not bother each other in any way. We check how the vine will be attached in order to secure ourselves against this phenomenon. Strictly forbidden it is, and worse, you fail your exam if you do this, says Stéphanie). It is called superposition.

  • The oldest of the charpentes is twisted out of the bindings and forced towards the first thread - it is covered by bark that is several years old and it is hard and almost unbendable as a trunk. What is possible? Are there any good shoots from last year? Is there still enough room for all charpentes and prolongements? If they bother each other, we remove one - often but not always the oldest one. Two charpentes with two prolongements are enough to ensure enough grapes.

    We must watch out for especially two specific things:

    • One - superposition - is when a shoot from last year is crossing another even it is above or under.

    • The other - chevauchement - is when the branches of one vine grows into the space of the next plant on the row. A charpente with a prolongement this long will have to be removed as well.

    It is important to prune as close to the stem as you can to avoid growth that you do not want.

    The art of holding the secateur right
    To learn to prune a vine really means that you learn to use the theory in the way that suits your plant the best. Very few vines actually have excactly the branches that you need to meet the demands of theory completely. We must learn how to balance our choices in a good way.

    One thing is to handle the secateur correctly. This means, that we hold the mobile part of the tool - which is the left for a righthander like me - with four fingers and the thumb around the right part. The broad part of the scissors is supposed to meet the part of the wood that will remain after the pruning. The last thing to remember is that you place the branch to cut as far into the open scissors as you can. If you at the same time pull the branch to be removed towards yourself while you cut, you can actually remove even quite thick branches with an ordinary secateur.

    It is a trick that is quite necessary for me, since I do not have the strength in my hands that is otherwise important if you do not have the big scissors. Which we will not at the exams.

    On top of holding the scissors and place them correctly, we must learn to cut with an angle. An angle that slides down from the side of the bud. In this way the tall end is on top of the bud, and in this way sap running from within the plant will never in case of frost be of any damage to the bud itself.

    I already plan to do some homework next weekend in my mother-in-laws rows of Chablis-pruned Chardonnay-grapes.

    Test in three stages
    It is the winegrowers themselves that control the final test. The diploma works as your way of being recogniced as a skilled worker. You cannot let anyone fool around with the future yield in your vineyards. The test consists of a written, practical and oral part. Each test you fail will send you straight out of the rest of the tests.

  • During the written test you have 10 minutes to answer at least seven of 10 questions correct.

  • If you manage this, you move on to the practical part. Each candidate must demonstrate either how to prune two Chablis-vines or two Cordon de Royat-vines and attach them as well. You get eight minutes to do you thinking and your pruning. Afterwards you must bind the vines, but that is not on time. If your three censors think that you have managed the pruning in a satisfactory way, you move on to the last part of the test.

  • It is oral. You choose a piece of paper with a question, get around 10 minutes to prepare your answer, and are finally asked questions about it in the same amount of time.

    And that is all... the people who make it through all three tests, will get their diploma as they want it: in the school, send by mail or at the local Saint Vincent party in mid January.

    After the first thursday in the course I note that:

  • 1. I can follow what happens in the class quite well,
  • 2. I do not understand much of the theory told in the vinyard. I just do not have the mental surplus to listen and work at the same time,
  • 3. I - as always - hold the tools wrong. 31 years after my desperate teacher tried to teach me how to hold my pencil correctly I still handle it the wrong way... but I do write anyway.

    My goal is still to get the diploma to be the first Dane in Verzy to get the pruning certificate during Saint Vincent. Should you want to cross your fingers for me, I shall be happy to receive any support.

    Even well buried in the snow of 2005 you can still see that these Chablis-pruned Chardonnay have only two charpentes.

    På dansk

    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.

  • 25 January, 2001

    More champagne to be made

    The still wine spends at least 15 months in these wooden boxes. Here it develops the bubbles and ages.

    Champagne keeps itself economically more than floating - as opposed to the mainpart of the rest of the suffering, French wineworld. The sales of af champagne is just fine, which is why the semiofficial agency, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) - which balances as a sort of buffer between the winegrowers, the champagnehouses and the authorities, has decided to release a part of the reserves.

    This means, that there will be produced chamapgne of an extra of 500 kilos of grapes per hectare on top of the ordinary quote of 11.500 kilos per hectare. The released bubbles however are not to be found on the shelves in shops straight away. They physical state at the moment is liquid in the form of still wine. Or to put it in another way, it must be turned into champagne first.

    Still wine and then champagne
    The stil wine will be blended (assemblage), poured into the bottle (tirage) and then put to age in the prescribed number of months and finally disgorged (See Corkchange) and dressed up nicely. At least 15 months for non-vintage champagne and at least three years for vintage champagne. Only then the distance to shops start to be counted in months or even weeks.

    The deblockage - this is the technical term - follows the wake of good sales in 2005 and the anticipation of further good sales in another two or three years.

    Last February a quantity of still wine of 1.000 kilos of grapes per hectare were released, so this year apparentlyt the CIVC has chosen a more careful line.

    For us - for everybody that sells grapes - the release means a bit of extra money too.

    The codes explain when the still wine was blended, bottled and how long it must age on the lees.

    På dansk

    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.

    24 January, 2001

    Boizel won the battle of Lanson

    A six month long war of nerves about the future of the 245 year old Lanson International is over. The much smaller Boizel Chanoine Champagne has swallowed the giant for a price of 122,7 million euros. Thus the final price landed rather far away from the 700 million euros, the main shareholder, Francois-Xavier Mora, initially asked for.

    Boizel only had its comback in December after the favourite buyers, Franco-american investment group Butler Capital Partners and French contractor Jean-Claude Darmon, withdrew in the last minute. The original bid from Boizel was turned down by Lanson chairman, Francois-Xavier Mora.

    Big debts and big stocks
    With the deal Boizel takes over Lansons not inconsiderable debt of 400 million euros. However, 56 million bottles of champagne in Lansons basements count on the positive side.

    Caisse d'Epargne triggered the sales in July as they wanted to sell their 44 percent of the Lanson-shares. The bank bought the shares in 2004 to help the until then completely family-owned business that did not have the available funds to pay winegrowers for their already delivered grapes.

    New strategy around the corner
    Three factors have made life expensive for Lanson. Through the nineties the company chose - against the strategy of other producers, unfortunately also against the trend - to aim at cheap champagne. A strategy that did not suceed.

    The rising prices of grapes have made it very expensive for Lanson, that buys almost all grapes from little growers. Thus the company has not been able to make the most of its production capacity. So far.

    "We do not come to speculate but to repair the machine, reintroduce and develop it," according to Bruno Paillard of Boizel to an edition of local newspaper l'Union in Middecember.

    Reassuring words in troubled times, where the workers of Lanson have been on strike several times. After the sale they have so far remained quiet however "vigilant", they say according to l'Union.

    Lanson International owns the brands Lanson, Besserat de Bellefon, Alfred Rothschild and Gauthier. On top of that a range of low price champagnes, that the buyers sell under their own names. With a early sale of 18 million bottles in 80 countries Lanson International is the thirdbiggest group in Champagne.

    Boizel Chanoine Champagne already owns the brands Chanoine, Philipponnat, De Venoge and Alexandre Bonnet. Executive director Bruno Paillard on top of that owns Champagne Bruno Paillard, established in 1981 and the youngest of approximately 125 houses.

    På dansk

    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.

    22 January, 2001

    Prune your vines after Saint Vincent

    A vine with all the new shoots is a bit of a chaotic mess. But only before the pruning.

    This freezing cold sunday - Saint Vincent - is the special day of celebration of the winegrowers. Meanwhile our neighbours in Verzy walk through the village with the bâton of Saint Vincent, eat a big meal and drink one glass of champagne after the other, we start the big task of pruning our vines.

    The best time for the pruning is in March, but since there is a lot of work, most winegrowers must start long before in order to finish on time. In this region they say that you should only start to prune after the 22nd of January, the feast of the patron saint of the vineyards.

    I take the opportunity to update my competences - not yet that extensive - before I begin as a student in the official course on how to prune the vines.

    Lessons in the art of pruning coming up
    The course begins in the wineschool in the village of Avize the last thursday of January. It will continue the following nine thursdays and end with a practical examination. Hopefully also with a diploma, a piece of paper, that will qualify me to the job of pruning the vines. I have no plans looking for a job in that field though. But I want to qualify as a professionnal winegrower, and this is the first step.

    Courageously I remove the old charpente as part of the rejuvenation of the plant. The branch is so thick that I need the big scissors to make it. Many old vineyard workers use only the small pruning scissors since it is faster - it is also a sure way to ruin your hands too early.

    To prune a vine is easy in theory. There are four different methods, and you choose according to the classification of your grapes (Grand cru, premier cru or nothing) and type of grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier or Pinot Noir).

  • For Grand Cru and Premier Cru grapes you must use the Chablis-method for the white Chardonnay and Cordon du Royat for the red Pinot Meunier and Noir.
  • For vineyards that are not classified you can also choose the Vallée de la Marne or Guyot-methods for Pinot Meunier.

    Each type of pruning has its characteristics but the main principles remain more or less the same (Cordon de Royat is a bit different though). Below I explain the Vallée de la Marne-method, which is the one we use as our grapes are as exotic as Pinot Meunier in the Côte des Blancs-area, where you mainly find Chardonnay.

    The bit with its two buds do not look like much, but actually it is quite central for the rejuvenation of the plant and its ability to keep producing grapes.

    Charpente, baguette
    You start with an old branch - charpente - it will have a bunch of one year old shoots, and this is where the production of grapes takes place. Grapes always grow on one year old shots, so it is important that the plant continues to develop these shoots throughout the 30 years it will at least stay in production. Only one of these shoots will survive the pruning though.

    You will choose the strongest one possible and cut the top of it in a height of between six and eight buds. The main criteria for the length is that the shoot will not be allowed into the space of the neighbouring plant.

    Next thing is to choose a junior amongst the one year old shoots that do not grow on the charpente. This is the baguette and its main job is to grow stronger. Only at the pruning next year and if everything has grown on the plant as anticipated, the old charpente will be removed and the baguette will replace it.

    The last part is actually the most important. You seek out a third strong branch, and you remove it almost completely. Almost, because you leave a height of two buds and these two are supposed to develop shoots during the summer. One of them is supposed to take the role as next years baguette. All other shoots and brancehes will be removed, but only when you know your charpente, your baguette and your two buds. In this way you are - almost - sure to have something to fit into each part.

    And this is excactly where all the problems of pruning start. You will realize that only very few vines actually fit into the beautiful theory.

    Plants do not read theory
    A lot can be wrong in a row of vines. Some plants are ill, some are undernourished or just weak in general. There are also the young ones, that must grow, and then the dying or even dead ones.

    Some have had important branches destroyed by tractors in the summer, often because the shoots may have grown in an unfortunate direction into the path rather than along it. Some just did not develop as wanted, and others again just do not have enough good and strong branches to make it possible to prune according to the theory.

    You cut the one year old baguette on the bias in a height where it has just one bud above the lower thread of the fence. A cut on the bias heals the best.

    In other words you must think yourself and try to find the best solution from the possibilities that the plant will offer you. It must be pruned to secure the right amount of grapes next season, not too many, not to few. Just enough.

    Knowledge is a good help
    It helps your ability of making the right decisions that you have a maximum amount of knowledge. And there is a number of things that makes it much more easy to choose the right shoot from 20.

  • A shoot that grows vertical rather than horizontal will often be less bendable. If you try to bend it, it is likely to crack. No good.

  • You can also cut a bit from the top to see how far you will get until you find green life inside the branch. Dead, brown branches will not live again in spring. If you have to remove two thirds of your branch before you reach the green colour of life, there is not likely to be the necessary amount of buds left. So... no good.

    A healthy vine will produce many shoots each year. Only two will survive the pruning and it is important to choose the right ones.

    To make the right decisions - preferably fast too as professionnal pruning is payment per piece - demands experience just like any other field. The more you have seen, the more you have tried, the faster and easier you can diagnose the vine. Alain does not use many seconds to read a plant and understand its strong and weak parts. Whereas I must think carefully about it before I do anything. But at least I dare to make more of my own decisions this year compared to last year. Also I am quite capable of choosing the best shoots now.

    The disease is still there
    During the work I find a diseased plant. What a sad sight. Almost unbearable.

    Since October we have put many hours of work into the task of removing more than 400 diseased vines with branches and roots and the whole range of tools from tractors to scissors and hoe. Already on the first day of the pruning we see, that we have not succeeded to get rid of the esca yet.

    The cut on a sane vine is green, where the shoot is still alive. Something black means disease.

    The disease is only visible in the active period of the plant, where it shows less leaves, weak branches and less grapes of a poorer quality.

    In the winter you will see the esca like a dark shade in the green cut on the pruned branch. The cut of a sane plant is all green.

    På dansk

    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.

    There is not much left on the vine after the pruning is finished. But there is enoughy. You just have to believe firmly in the necessity of pruning thoroughly. No doubt the most difficult part for the beginner.
  • 12 January, 2001

    Gulp down your savings the bubbly way

    In the British Sainsbury's supermarkets the turnover on champagne has now passed that of baked beans. Danes too seem to appreciate sparkling wines more and more.

    We still wait for the total sales of 2005, but they are likely to confirm a rising tendency from the first to the second half of last year. Here is my best example to prove that new luxurious times have arrived in some parts of Denmark.

    Changed patterns of consumption
    I was rather surprised when I in Danish supermarket Kvickly in the island Amager in Copenhagen found boxes of champagne for sales for 1.000 kroner (approximately 130 euros). Later in the year there was an even cheaper brand of champagne for sale for 650 kroner (approximately 87 euros) per box. It does not get much cheaper even in Champagne (Mere hos Coops Nettorvet).

    No matter the quality - I did not taste the champagne - it tells me, that the patterns of consumption in Amager must have moved into a completely different galaxy, since I lived in the same neighbourhood in the depressing and ever depressed late eighties.

    The latest numbers from the association of the wine marchants in Denmark, Vin og Spiritusorganisationen i Danmark (VSOD) confirms the tendency. Danes bought 25 percent more champagne in 2004 than in 2003, and in the first half of 2005, the growth was seven percent compared with the same period the year before, said newspapers Nordjyske og Fyens stiftidender in their New Year edition.

    Danes gulp down savings
    Lifestyle expert of public broadcaster DR, Christine Feldthaus, explains to DR Penge the new and expensive hobby with the fact, that many Danes have a lot of money to spend thanks to big savings in their houses and appartments due to fastrising marketprices and good pensions.

    According to the chairman of the VSOD, Peter Schaltz, the height of the season of champagne is still News Years Eve, but sales are rising around Midsummer Day and final exams celebrations too, he says to the newspapers.

    Champagne passes baked beans
    The tendency recurs in Great Britain. Of course it is the bubbly nation - the main export market for champagne throughout all times - but still.

    The richest part of the British - middle class included - have seen a big rise of their wealth during the last years, where prices of houses have risen dramatically as in Denmark. Shortly before Christmas the daily newspaper Daily Telegraph wrote that the supermarket Sainsbury's now shave more turnover on champagne than on baked beans.

    In the first nine months of 2005 the British imported more than 22 million bottles of champagne, which is a growth of nine percent compared to the year before, says
    Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne.

    På dansk

    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.

    03 January, 2001

    Welcome 2006

    In Verzy, we greet the new year with - surprise - champagne.

    We have crossed the treshold of 2006. Probably the worst hangovers have left at the time of writing. Alain and I have entered the new year with these plans:

  • We are subscribing to a course about pruning the wine followed by an exam. Alain participates as my supporter, I presume.
  • This autumn we expect to take over another half hectare of vineyards.
  • Around the same time we will start the paperwork needed before we can put our own name on the labels instead of that of the cooperative. It will last one year, Alain estimates. Never underestimate French bureaucracy!
  • In the meantime - this summer - we expect to welcome a little brother or sister.

    Not the least the last item on the list has affected my energy to such an extent this autumn that I have had to neglect the blog most severely. I cannot promise not to repeat the neglectance this spring. But be sure that the updates eventually be limping along sooner or later. That much is sure.

    Godt nytår. Bonne année. Happy New Year.

    På dansk

    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.

  • Toppen 2011

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    I 2011 har vi udskiftet en hel del udstyr: Ny chenillard, fulgt af ny kassevogn. Traktorenkan jeg vel ikke kalde ny, men den er i hvert fald udstyret med pløjejern, som vi ikke havde før.

    Vi har udvidet høsthuset med to værelser og et toilet mere samt et badeværelser på vej. Det var de mere erfarne høstfolk temmelig glade for. De kunne mærke forskellen. Det store arbejdsrum fik vi sat nye porte i, hvilket gør underværker for temperaturen. I første omgang fryser æblerne ikke længere, og det er jo også værd at tage med. Ellers fik vi ikke gjort noget videre. Men vi har rummet, og planen er stadig at bruge det.

    Vi overtog administrationen af yderligere to hektar.

    Omsider fik vi taget fat på den genplantning, der har rumsteret rundt i kulissen i flere år. Den fortsætter dette forår.

    Sidst i september sendte vi en god portion kasser til København, og allerede ugen efter kunne jeg se, hvor fint de står på hylderne i Smallegade. Det er vi glade for, også at der står færre flasker i 2012 end i 2011. Nogle af køberne kender jeg jo her fra bloggen, når I af og til sender en melding. Bliv gerne ved med det.

    Vi fortsatte med en lille flok uformelle champagnesmagninger, og kunne se, at de virker også på sigt, når smagerne køber igen. Det er vi også glade for. Dels fordi vi lever af det, men også fordi møderne - hurtige som lange - har tendens til at udvikle sig til at blive voldsomt hyggelige. Jeg skal jo sige det: Festen kommer i selskab med flasken.

    Billedet: Vinens slyngtråde, efterårsudgaven.

    02 January, 2001

    Trenden 2012

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    Vi har en ny champagne i pipeline. Sådan set skal vi bare have etiketten tegnet og trykt. Både navn og farve er klart. Også hedvinen Ratafia kan komme til.

    Vi har foretaget de indledende øvelser til at få lavet vores egen top. Væk med Marianne.

    Et meget stort ønske er at lave vores første parcel-vin, siden parcel-champagne. Vi har nu adgang til presse og tank, og er dermed et skridt videre end i 2011. Til den første vinhøst - hvornår det så bliver - kan man formentlig lægge en fem års tid, så det er ikke en champagne, der vil komme i handlen med det vuns.

    Planen er at genoptage arbejdet med min bog om champagne.

    At tage konsekvensen af min - og andres - nye Smartphones, iPhones, tabletter med mere og skrive mere mobilt. QR-koderne har jeg droppet. Selv discount-supermarkederne har dem, og hvad kan de egentlig, som man ikke kan gøre lige så godt med sin telefon? Godt man ikke fik trykt 10.000 hurtige etiketter for at være den første.

    Planen er også at genså i Pinot Meunier-rækkerne i Loisy-en-Brie. Lidt græs har slået rod i den øvre parcel. Den nedre, der hælder mindre, kan meget vel ende med at dele jord med kløver.

    Billeder: Nybeskårne grene i en vinmark ovenfor Villers-Marmery, den 1. januar 2012.