Harvest is to winegrowers what Christmas is to kids.
As a wine lover, it is one of my favourite period in the year… It’s a quite amazing and exciting moment to see all these people coming to Burgundy just to work for the harvest, during this period more than 10 000 people are employed to cut and carry the grapes.
Wine needs time to mature, and we have to be patient before being allowed to drink it ; one year flows between the wine making and the wine tasting.
We started to pick-up the 2011 vintage, this one will be bottle filled end of next year.
So here I am in Burgundy, in a little village called Vougeot, located between Nuits Saint Georges and Dijon.
The Estate, as many in Burgundy, is family owned, this one is runned by Charles, the grandson of Odile and Alain Hudelot-Noellat.
Today, they own a total of 10 well-situated hectares, which are split over 5 communes. Their wines are wonderful examples of traditionally styled Burgundy – super pure and focused with an undeniable sense of terroir. They use a smattering of new oak during ageing on their wines ranging from 10% for their village wines, 25% on their premier crus to 50%.
On the Friday evening, Charles brought me to have a little tour of their wineyards, our task was to check the sugar level, this one will give us an idea about the alcohol level which corresponds to the maturity of the grapes. As it takes approximately 7 days to harvest 10 hectares, we needed to know where we should start.
The grapes looked good, some of them were a bit damaged due to the bad weather in July and August. At 7 am on Saturday, the harvest began. 50 persons joined to share this experience with us. 20 % of them come every year, it’s their moment, they love it, they feel that for once they are doing a useful job. 30 % are students who do it for the money and the other 50 % are having the opportunity to break with unemployment.
It was a long working day, bended on my knees, cutting… cutting…
Thank god we were lucky to have the sun with us…
At the end of the day, we were exhausted yet the exciting part in this harvest is that you realize how special a bottle of wine is and how much work it needs.
For all the wine lovers, I would definitely recommend this one of a kind experience that gives you an insight into the beauty of this universe.
2011 vintage will be a very special one due to the climate that was a bit erratic, there will be less quantity but the quality of what we collected gives us a promising idea. Can’t wait to be in Winter next year to be able to start tasting it…Enjoy!
by Charlotte Bjorklund