Musings on the upcoming Harvest


Burgundy is filled with wine makers. Feel free to count those who claim to actually make the wine, and you may get but a small handful. Wine is made in the vineyards. This is not only a cliche, but something that is ingrained in the Burgundian culture. Further stated, I personally feel that I would prefer to have the wine be a result of actions (or the lack thereof) in the vineyards rather than decisions I make in the cellar. With the harvest quickly approaching, I am forced to break away from the romance of letting the wine make itself and figure out what needs to be in my facility to make this happen the right way.

I’ve made up my mind on general style approaches, and the best thing I can settle on is to leave as little imprint on the wine as possible. Here is the thing. Ideas are great to have. When it comes to executing, you see what flies and what was totally impractical. That said, I have started with a few general ideas that I’m shooting for.

I am looking to harvest quite early, most likely before 8am. Berries are going to be sorted by 8 people on a sorting table, de-stemming by hand (this is going to be a pain in the ___). With my small scale, the effort should be great, but the length of time short. Wooden foudre is preferred for fermentation. Also, the cold soak should last a decent amount of time, with pigeage (these size 14 feet should work) starting just before I am getting readings of around 2.5-3.5 Brix. No extended maceration post fermentation. No bleed offs. I am grabbing barrels to a ratio of 4 old barrels for every 1 new. So, 20% new, at most. One cooper will be used. Filling barrels by gravity. No racking until bottling. Being a small operation, the wine will rest for as long as it needs in barrel, no need to rush things. Neighbors bottling/releasing earlier won’t be of consequence. No fining, no filtering. Bottling will be done by hand, using gravity.

Alright, I’m off of my soapbox. Now, this is my first vintage in Burgundy. So, the ‘plan’ is just that. Someone doing something different is fine with me. My plan may be the opposite of some successful producers out there. However, this is a blueprint if you will of what I plan to do. I feel truly awkward setting there parameters up, but that is exactly what needs to happen to set up equipment, estimated time tables, material, manual help, etc.

It’s getting exciting over here…..even if I am just mentally tinkering. It’ll be interesting to see the results.


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