Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Vineyard Sampling

This morning, we need to take and taste berry samples from each vineyard, in order to assess and monitor the ripening progress of the grapes.

I met up early at Chateau La Clarière with Olivier (vineyard manager), Henry Laithwaite and John Lakey for a tour of all our vineyards. Over the next 2-3 weeks, we will take frequent berry samples and keep a close eye on the maturity of the grapes to help decide when to begin the harvest.

All the vineyards are different so it is important to take a representative sample of the individual vineyard plots. In order to do this, we begin by taking berries 3 rows and 5 vines into the vineyard, as the end rows are usually riper due to more sunlight. The bunches are also irregular from the top to the bottom, so we take a grape from the shoulder, two berries from the middle and finally a berry from the bottom.

We then walk up and down the rows taking 4 berries to the left then four berries to the right, every 10 metres. There are 15 plots in total and the whole tour takes around 3 hours, so it keeps the winemakers fit and out of mischief!


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