Saturday, 26 September 2009

Feeding Time at the Chai!

All the fermentations are starting to slow down at the Chai. This is due to the level of residual sugar and nutrients diminishing - and also the level of alcohol rising by the hour as the yeasts feed. The yeasts are now immersed in wine, not juice anymore, so they become stressed and start to fight each other for the remaining food!

Apart from sugar, the yeasts favourite snack is nitrogen. Nitrogen is found naturally in the soil and is drawn up into the berry during the growing season and stored. Different soils like granite, slate, limestone and clay vary considerably in nitrogen levels, thus dictating the natural level found in the fermenting wine.

We therefore add a little bit of nitrogen to each fermenting vat and barrel when and as it is required. The yeasts speak by sending out distress signals in aromas and the winemakers listen by smelling and tasting the barrels every day!

It’s Barbara’s birthday today and after a full morning harvesting in Henry’s vineyard, we had a little glass of Champagne and the first Chateau La Clarière lunch cooked by Olivier’s mum. Happy Birthday Barbara and thank you very much Bernadette.

Harvesting the La Clarière ‘Chai’ vineyard tomorrow…


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