It’s the last day of the harvest, and as tradition dictates, we finish the very last rows of our Bourgogne Terres de Famille, begun two days ago, where our Romans are working hard for these ultimate reds, Aux Herbues.
DAY 17 : FRIDAY 4 SEPTEMBER
The weather is very good today. The sky is blue without a single cloud on the horizon or even a breath of wind on the upper slopes and the sun is radiant. It’s the second day for our Bourgogne Terres de Famille, and we’re still on the Chaux plateau with the whites that we want to finish so that we’ll have time to press them tomorrow, because on Sunday, with just a small team in the winery, we will be focusing on pumping over and will not have time to press.
DAY 16 – THURSDAY 3 SEPTEMBER
On this beautiful day in early September, we have already forgotten the grey skies, it’s getting warmer and it seems that good weather is on its way back! This is the home stretch for our harvest with the last, but not the least, vines in the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, four large plots overlooking Nuits-Saint-Georges, high up on the Chaux plateau which will be harvested in record time by the team of twenty valiant Romans.
DAY 15 – WEDNESDAY 2 SEPTEMBER
The end of the harvest is in sight! The Bâtard-Montrachet, the first to be barrelled, finished its alcoholic fermentation yesterday and Le Clos Blanc ‘La Plante’ has already transformed its sugars. Everything is moving quickly in the cellar - these wines are in a hurry!
DAY 14 – TUESDAY 1st SEPTEMBER
This morning it's back to school. It’s unlike a usual beginning of term because it has been six months since the students have been to school due to the lockdown, apart from a few days at the end of June. Here also masks and barrier gestures are required.
DAY 13 – MONDAY 31st AUGUST
It’s a cool morning at 12 °and the sky is very overcast with large white and gray cumulus clouds, an impressive cloudy mass which will release only a few showers before noon, barely enough to water the landscape.
DAYS 11 & 12 – SATURDAY 29 & SUNDAY 30 AUGUST
Temperatures have dropped considerably and are now around 20 °on the Côte. The harvesters, with their stiff fingers, are almost missing the rain of yesterday. There’s a feeling that nature, exhausted from the heat of the summer, yearns for autumn and so do we!
DAY 10 – FRIDAY 28 AUGUST
Incredible but true, it's raining! There’s a radical change in the weather, temperatures are plummeting and it’s only 17 ° today! The humidity fell overnight and this morning the cote is under an opaque white veil, the rain is falling hard and it seems to have set in for the day.
DAY 9 – THURSDAY 27 AUGUST
It is 20 ° this morning and the weather is overcast. The Beaune team migrated north into the vineyard of Vougeot ‘Clos du Prieuré’ white, which must be cut immediately, a full six days after the red.
DAY 8 – WEDNESDAY 26 AUGUST
It's crazy that certain estates of the Côte de Beaune have already finished their harvest at the end of August! Incredibly, we are only halfway. On this beautiful sunny day we begin in Puligny-Montrachet ‘Aux Paupillots’ and continue on to Chassagne-Montrachet, the village next door, in the ‘En Lormeau’ plot.
DAY 7 – TUESDAY 25 AUGUST
We began this Royal day in cooler temperatures and in the winery everyone was wearing their polo necks but the 15 ° climbed slowly but surely to 30 °, stifling hot and no breeze at all and by 6pm it was at its hottest with a still intense sun.
DAY 6 – MONDAY 24 AUGUST
On this cool early morning it is 12 °C, the sun is rising, it is 7 am on the Cote and the sound of secateurs can already being heard in our vines. The vines remain defiantly dark green and if you haven’t set foot in the rows, you won’t realise that the summer has been scorching and dry as evidenced by the dry, prematurely fallen or yellowing leaves.
DAY 4 & 5 – SATURDAY 22, SUNDAY 23 AUGUST
The overnight rain finally brought a little coolness to the grape pickers and the vines. The sun is still shining but the temperatures are a little more bearable at 26°C (78,8 F)on Saturday and 24°C (75,2 F) on Sunday. The weekend promises to be intense and sweet at the same time.
DAY 3 – FRIDAY 21 AUGUST
With an overcast sky, continuing high temperatures (33 °C-91,4 F, at the highest) and a hot wind, conditions are difficult for the pickers, but it takes more than that to demotivate them! Many are helped along by the 10 am snack, the lunch break and the great ambiance reigning in the vines.
DAY 2 – THURSDAY 20 AUGUST
It was a day marked by contrasts between the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits and the heat in the vineyards at 36 C (96.8 F) at the hottest part of the day, compared with the cool of the winery. The only thing in common was continuing to harvest the red grapes.
DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY 19 AUGUST
A new moon, fruit day, radiant sunshine and harvesters in great shape for this first day of harvest which started in the Côte de Beaune in our Pommard Les Petits Noizons vineyard in the morning and continues in the afternoon with our Grand Cru Corton Le Clos du Roi.
Summer is in full swing! It’s like nature took it easy during lockdown and is now giving it everything and growing like crazy. As we reach the end of July, we are preparing for harvesting the grapes. The cellar is ready and has been cleaned and scrubbed. The new barrels are ready and waiting, and we have set our sights on the early date of 17 August for the first snip of the secateurs to bring in the 2020 harvest.
Who would have believed it? But for us winemakers, “the vines grow on” because Mother Nature will not be stopping for this human pandemic. We have, of course, taken exceptional measures in order to be able to work in complete safety in the vines.
We’d barely blown out the candles on our 20th birthday cake when 2020 was already upon us! The wines of 2019 are now just embarking on the ageing process in the beneficial chill of the cellar...
DAY 15 – MONDAY 23 SEPTEMBER
On this cosmic date, when day and night are the same length, we finish our 2019 harvest as we step into fall. This is symbolic of a new season for this new vintage.
Small but perfectly formed, the 2019 harvest! The excessive heat and dryness have unfortunately hit yield hard! We look forward to ageing to confirm the enthusiastic first impressions on this 2019 vintage. Meanwhile, let’s take a look behind the scenes of what is already a promising vintage.
DAYS 13 & 14 – SATURDAY 21 AND SUNDAY 22 SEPTEMBER
While young people around the world came out to defend the climate, the people of Burgundy were also focused on their climats. One of the estate’s most emblematic climats is the Clos Blanc de Vougeot that we finished off this morning, making it an historic day.
DAY 12 – FRIDAY 20 SEPTEMBER
The summer has had a stay of execution and its beautiful light continues to flood the Côte as we gather as many grapes as possible before the rain forecast for Sunday. Today, the wind had dropped but the temperatures were still chilly with a maximum of 20°C, with the heatwave is now a distant memory.
DAY 11 – TUESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER
This morning, the cool temperatures confirmed that fall is approaching fast, as the vines begin to turn gold. The brisk wind sent a chill through the pickers, who gathered while it was still dark at 6.45am to be in the vineyards by 7. These are the final days of toil; we will have finished early into next week.
DAY TEN – WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER
On this very favorable fruit day in the lunar calendar, the sun may have been flooding the Côte, but the northeast wind was blowing quite hard, with gusts up to 40kph, and the temperature suddenly dropped. We could really feel the difference and the pickers arrived with hoods up and long sleeves covering their arms. Perhaps this is finally the end of the heatwave temperatures we’ve been seeing.
DAY NINE – TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER
The vines are showing the first signs of the end of the growth cycle, the leaves slowly turning yellow or brown, even though green is still dominant. These subtle changes signal that the vine has now put all its strength into the fruit, and is now preparing for a period of dormancy.
DAY EIGHT – MONDAY 16 SEPTEMBER
As we head into the second week, the harvests are in full swing, and after a well-earned Sunday rest, our valiant pickers are now hardened against sunstroke, the odd cut finger, the long days and aching backs. The pace is good, and we are right on track, with no hitches.
DAY SEVEN – SUNDAY 15 SEPTEMBER
It was action stations on the Côte! It seemed as if everyone had come together on this, another bright and warm day. Groups of pickers dot the vineyards, busily toiling up and down the slopes. The trucks made their way along Route 74, lines of cars building up behind the ponderous high-clearance tractors as they transport the harvesting crates back to the winery.
DAY SIX – SATURDAY 14 SEPTEMBER
The sky was cloudy this morning and one might have thought there was a whiff of fall in the air, accentuated by the leaves which have prematurely dried on the trees. No chance! The temperature carried on climbing throughout the day before exceeding 30°C in the late afternoon. So we decided to work through lunch and stop early to avoid this peak.
DAY FIVE – FRIDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2019
No Friday 13 horrors for us today! The bright sunny weather made ideal conditions for the pickers. It was already 22°C at 9.30am. On the Côte de Beaune, we started on the large vineyard of Savigny-lès-Beaune Premier Cru Les Marconnets. This actually comprises four plots covering a total of two hectares, which will probably take two days to gather. The bunches were very big and quite healthy, with a little rot that was soon eliminated on the winery sorting table.
DAY FOUR – THURSDAY 12 SEPTEMBER
It was a bright and hot day for picking simultaneously on both the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits, with 34 feisty snippers per crew. Thomas is running the Beaune gang while Henri is in charge of the Nuits team.
DAY THREE – WEDNESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER
The weather forecast promises steadily rising temperatures through to the weekend, and Wednesday’s sunshine seems to confirm this prediction. The harvests are still in the early stages, and today is the last day with a single crew in the vines. In other words, the winery had better make the most of this relaxed pace, before things really start to ramp up with the arrival of a second crew on the Côte de Nuits tomorrow.
DAY TWO – TUESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2019
As a reward for completing our first day, the weather was a gift today with warming temperatures. In the vines, the sunshine also welcomed Julien, our latest arrival from Quebec, with his delightfully lilting accent. In the winery, the warmer weather was also welcome because the pace of work, despite not yet being at full tilt, requires we leave all the doors open, and we’d forgotten how chilly the drafts can be!
DAY ONE – MONDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2019
A date with a nine in it to begin this vintage blessed by numerology… We embark upon this harvesting adventure with the intention of producing some excellent wines, hoping the numbers and the stars don’t lie: We hope 2019 will be as fine a year as 1999, the estate’s first, as a memory of 1969 and other years blessed with a nine…
It may seem incredible, but it’s true! The Domaine de la Vougeraie is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019! We hope that 2019 will be just as dazzling as our first harvest, and we send you our very warmest wishes for this festive new year!
HARVEST SPECIAL 2018
At the time of writing, this year’s harvest ended one month ago. For those who followed our daily harvest bulletins on our website, you will know it lasted 26 days, compared to just 19 days the previous year.
Days Twenty-Five & Twenty-Six – Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 September 2018
The Côte is now almost deserted, with only a few small groups dotted here and there in the vines. For us, the harvest ended at 2:30pm on Tuesday. The last 79 crates arrived with an accompanying fanfare of truck horns, and were welcomed at the winery with cries of joy. It took us almost a month to bring in all 37 appellations this year, which is unprecedented! This is due to the dual impact of the generosity of the 2018 vintage, combined with grapes now starting to flow from some recently replanted plots.
Days Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four – Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September 2018
By 6pm, the grapes have usually stopped coming in and the cleaning is nearly done. But Saturday was different. The grapes just kept on coming and Alexis just kept on unloading them, his toned shoulders betraying his efforts. The day finally began to draw to a close, and fortunately, too, because Karine was exhausted to say the least, and there was still two hours of deep cleaning to be done before we could lock up for the night.
Day Twenty Two – Friday 14 September 2018
This year’s harvest seems never-ending, but we are delighted that quantity is going hand-in-hand with quality – two words that are often incompatible when it comes to wine, and just what we need after the lean years of 2016, when yields were down by half, 2010 and 2012. Today, we finished the whites of the Côte de Beaune Les Pierres Blanches and the Beaune la Montée Rouge. On the Côte de Nuits, we continued our high-altitude harvest on a plateau at 420 meters above sea level, taking in two hectares of the large plot of Hautes-Côtes de Nuits white at Chaux, and for our Bourgogne from the high-trained vineyard called Au Defois.
Day twenty-one – Thursday 13 September 2018
The weather is still summery, and the rain that was forecast never showed up, despite some big black clouds threatening the Côte as our pickers started their fourth and final week. In the winery, we were about to press our first red while freshly-picked grapes were still being brought in. That’s a first for the estate. In the vines, harvesting continued on the Côte de Nuits a few hundred meters from the winery in Premeaux-Prissey, with the big vineyard of Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Les Corvées Pagets.
day twenty – Wednesday 12 September 2018
Another day, another hard effort out in the vines and the winery! It has been three weeks now since we started harvesting, and the pace is still just as intense, the tasks demanding the same energy, both indoors and out.
Day nineteen – Tuesday 11 September 2018
Vine, winery, and cellar. For the past couple of weeks, life at the Domaine has revolved around these three locations. One week from now, the vineyards will be at rest, but activity in the winery and cellar will still be going strong. We started the day at 7am, with a frisky 12°C in the vines. Dew pearled on the leaves, dropping from the fingers of the pickers. Meanwhile, the winery was getting into gear with the first pressing of the day, Beaune La Montée Rouge white, the first of three.
DAYS SEVENTEEN AND EIGHTEEN – SUNDAY 9 AND MONDAY 10 SEPTEMBRE 2018
What a funny place for a rendezvous! Sylvie had arranged to meet Jean-Claude, the head of our team on the Côte de Nuits, in the cemetery at Premeaux at 7am to hook up with the elusive Romanians. The minutes ticked by, with no sign of anyone. Apparently, they, too, were at the cemetery, only it transpired they were at the one in Quincey, over a mile away! An amusing start to the day…
Day sixteen – Saturday 8 September 2018
It was still dark when our seasonal workers rose from their beds. Daybreak is a little later every day, but a glimmer of pink tinged the sky ahead of sunrise as they gathered at 7am on the hillsides already dotted with groups of pickers. Did they know that today, they would be tackling some of the most prestigious climats in Burgogne, impacted by the extreme weather?
Day fifteen – Friday 7 September 2018
There was a lounge atmosphere in the winery this morning, with soft jazz playing to start the day off gently. Vinifying in whole bunches has obliged us to slow down the pace to cut off the green stalks. Dawn saw the vines bathed in a lovely light and pure air as we finished the Charmes-Chambertin Les Mazoyères, our historic plot of grand cru begun yesterday. These very old vines, some of which were planted in the 19th century, are spectacular.
Day Fourteen – Thursday 6 September 2018
Today marks the start of the third week of picking and it’s clear that a certain fatigue is starting to set in, even though we are all still smiling. We are all in this together, both in the vines and in the winery, but the long days are tiring the team and the end is still not yet in sight...
Day Thirteen – Wednesday 5 September 2018
The sun was barely up on the Côte by the time the winery was in action with the first pressing of the day, Vougeot Clos du Prieuré, one of four. Everything started well, with eight willing workers at their posts and the first crates of Clos du Prieuré white on the sorting table, when suddenly boom! Two of the legs gave way. Fortunately, only the table suffered any damage...
Day twelve – Tuesday 4 September 2018
It was 15°C this morning and temperatures topped out a 27°C over the course of the day, with dazzling light making for very pleasant harvesting conditions. In the winery, it’s still cool, which is great for the freshly-picked grapes. Camille was smiling broadly, thanks to the brand-new pump for the white grapes press which is now up and running. This is exactly the kind of birthday gift a wine professional like her would appreciate!
DAY TEN AND ELEVEN- Sunday 2 and Monday 3 September 2018
After a little rest on Sunday, it was back down to business on Monday, as 12 million French pupils returned to school, midway through the harvest period. The gray, chilly weather confirmed the onset of fall. The team of pickers on the Côte de Nuits had now swelled to 23, and the day began with the plot of Bourgogne Les Cornillots, partially picked on Saturday. It yielded one press of Pinot Noir for our premium crémant, Fête de Famille.
DAY NINE – Saturday 1 September 2018
Camille reported that it was just 5°C in Nantoux at the top of the Hautes Côtes this morning. Up there, the vines are trained higher to protect them from the frost and we can see why. At the bottom of the hill, it was less chilly, but still weather for a sweater. Sylvie welcomed the team in the winery at 7am to the strains of La Vie en Rose, causing everyone to break into song. This is our new technique for ensuring a good atmosphere on what was promising to be a busy day.