A light mist hung over the vines this morning. It is the last day of the harvest and everyone is looking forward to the paulée tonight, the traditional closing party. There’s a palpable sense of excitement in the winery. The two last pressings are reserved for the Savigny-lès-Beaune and the Corton-Charlemagne, both of which gave us good yields.
Day nine Thursday – 27 September 2012
The weather was much better today over the vines which still look surprisingly green, as if the rain is helping extend their lifecycle. But the end of the harvest is in the air. For several days now, we’ve been hearing the horns blaring on trucks carrying their last few crates and seeing cars spiriting the harvesters away to distant horizons. Some didn’t turn up this morning, put off by yesterday’s rain. This race against the clock will be over by the weekend.
Day eight – Wednesday 26 September 2012
This harvest newsletter is dedicated to the heroes of the day, our harvesters, who braved some dreadful weather today. The rain fell constantly, accompanied by gusts of wind. Our valorous pickers only took a break at lunchtime, with a hot meal in the dry. We salute their courage and determination.
Day seven – Tuesday 25 September 2012
The weather this year has been topsy-turvy: we had summer in springtime and now we have spring in the fall! The vine has not yet taken on its flamboyant bronze and red colors and the skies are alternating between bright spells and cloudy periods, all with very mild temperatures. This is in total contrast with yesterday.
Days five and six – Sunday 23 and Monday 24 September 2012
On Sunday morning, all was calm at the winery with no grapes arriving today. Pierre and his two interns spent the day monitoring the vats and measuring densities and temperatures. The Côte was heaving with vehicles, and pickers were scurrying among the rows under the afternoon sun. Sunday night turned muggy and storms began grumbling in the south over the Saône. During the night, the vines were hit with a sudden downpour.
Day four Saturday – 22 September 2012
It rained all night. This morning, oilskins and boots were de rigueur. And it was in the cold and damp that the two picking teams began their day. They needed to be hardy because all morning, a fine rain accompanied the pickers and porters. The boots became laden with mud as the buckets were filled with small bunches showing a lot of millerandage. But as the old-timers here say: “Clay soil is lovely soil!”
Day three Friday – 21 September 2012
The sun shone brightly over the resplendent Côte on this, the last day of summer, its dazzling light highlighting the landscape’s ephemeral beauty. It is heavenly chaos a thousand leagues over the Atlantic where the tail of Cyclone Nadine is fighting the nameless anti-cyclone that is wrapping us in its heat. But down here, the men and women bent double in the vines are oblivious to what is going on, concentrating on their precious little bunches of fruit. They are moving through the vines fast, twice as fast as usual. Does that mean there are half as many grapes as usual? That is one of this year’s big questions.
Day two Thursday – 20 September 2012
It was 6°C this morning on the Côte, cold enough to make our pickers shiver and numb the fingers. Fortunately, the sun shone as forecast and temperatures reached 20°C, perfect for harvesting.
Day one Wednesday -19 September 2012
We set off this morning, secateurs in hand, to start the harvest for this very special vintage. This year has thrown up every possible extreme, with some awful weather for the vines. Spring was cold and rainy, resulting in shatter and mildew, and ended with some devastating hail. But then a miracle happened! In August, all our prayers to Saint Vincent came true, with the triumphant return of the sun and a drying wind to save the surviving fruit. The result is the smallest yield in living memory but grapes that are magnificent, against all expectations. The berries are small, with good millerandage indicating good color and concentration, and are healthy and perfectly mature.