Les mots de la Vigne #5

« Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous »
Albert Einstein

In late September … the harvest !

After a year of care, of mindful presence, of worry and effort, time for harvest has finally come... A mixture of excitement, enthusiasm and explosive joy reign in the vineyard.
This year weather is with the winemakers (at least around Bordeaux): sunny, fresh and bright, some light rain but no danger. The winemakers have thus all the leisure to choose the ideal harvest date for each plot. What luxury!

Vendanges chez un vigneron de Bordeaux
Vendanges sur les coteaux du Dézaley (Suisse)

In the winery

Upon entry to the cellar, the white grapes are pressed to separate the juice from the skins and seeds. There, alcoholic fermentation will be done on the juice alone. The red grapes are grazed and trampled before being put into vats. The juice, skins and seeds remain together throughout the fermentation, giving color and its tannic structure to the future wine.

After these operations dependant of color, fermentations start ... Vats sing, temperatures dance and the winery murmurs or grumbles depending on the day. Wine is created in the midst of this joyous effervescence. More prosaically, yeasts convert sugar into alcohol, freeing carbon dioxide and calories ... Description less poetic but equally real!

To the winemaker, the pressure takes off with the gas fermentation. The grape is now safe from the weather, winemaking is in progress, most of the work is done. Time is suspended, there is a silence on the music score... Soon, one will have to start thinking about the next vintage, turning back to the vineyards.

The vineyard after teh harvest

The brilliant colours of autumn feast our eyes and nourish our souls before the greyness of winter. Following the downward movement of the sun, the sap withdraws from the leaves to the trunk and roots, closing the door with a protective corkish callus, causing colour shift and their fall.

Petit hommage au vignoble suisse de Lavaux, entre Alpes et Jura, Rhône et lac Léman...
Petit hommage au vignoble suisse de Lavaux, entre Alpes et Jura, Rhône et lac Léman...
Lendemain de vendanges à Bourg, en bordure de Dordogne (Gironde).
Lendemain de vendanges à Bourg, en bordure de Dordogne (Gironde).

The period following the harvest and before the 1st autumn rain is a moment preferred to maintain soil fertility. Following a slight land preparation, it is time to sow mixture that will ensure a good ground structure, intense microbial life and good health of the vineyard.

=> for soil structure => for nitrogen inputs and taproot => for release of available elements
- barley, oats, rye etc - field bean, lupin, vetch, clover etc - mustard, shuttle, radish, rapeseed etc

Note rédigée par Albane Bervas
OEnologue, ingénieur viticole