Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Harvest 2009 'Un Vent de Folie'

Another long drive this morning finds me back in the Midi to oversee the harvest of the fragile 100yr old Grenache vines which make the Vent de Folie.

The vineyards are located in the most extreme and inaccessible places, high above the village of Maury and getting the grapes back to the village safely is quite a challenge.

We use small but strong interlocking food grade plastic boxes to keep the tiny bunches from being crushed on route to the winery. We cannot fill the boxes too much as they become to heavy to carry to the 4x4 truck which is waiting at the bottom of the steep rugged ravines. Carefully, one by one, the truck is loaded.

The heat, getting into the mid thirties and doing a well rehearsed double act with the crazy wind (the vent de folie), has been unbearable today but Jean-Charles' amazing charisma has kept everyone working efficiently and the morale high, like only a true Roussillon vigneron knows how!

The yields are so small they are bordering on ridiculous and once back in the village, we process the tiny volumes in a fittingly tiny winery!

Jean-Charles has all the necessary equipment in a converted garage under his house in the centre of the village. Once inside the winery, you can barely squeeze between the tanks and they almost touch the ceiling; now this is what I call being a garagiste winemaker!

It is so small we are forced to take over the entire pavement and half the road with the crusher and de-stalking machine!

I am staying overnight in the Roussillon so I can check the Vent de Folie vats tomorrow and also to control the second harvest of the mid-valley President XV vineyards. However it’s more driving tomorrow as I need to back in Bordeaux to meet Jean-Marc at the Chai late afternoon.


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