the grapes are GO on Boulevard Napoleon

15 Oct
the grapes have arrived at the cellar

grapes fresh from the vineyard, lined up waiting to be de-stemmed

Well that’s it for picking this year.  All the grapes are in, busy fermenting, creating heat in the tanks and Benji can breathe a sigh of relief.  We’ve had good amounts of sunshine and wind, no hail, no rot – now it’s time to leave the grapes to do their stuff in the winery and see what sort of juices evolve.

Benji and tractor at la cave (the wine cellar) on Boulevard Napoleon

Benji at ‘la cave’ (the wine cellar) on Boulevard Napoleon

These photos show the last of the grapes from the harvest – the Grenache – coming in.  We hung around for a couple of hours to see the action. It might sound nerdy, just hanging around and watching grapes go into a machine for processing, but really, it was quite exciting!  Really!  There’s something about the odour, the colours, the satisfaction on the faces of the grape growers seeing their fruit finally picked and about to perform their transformation.

As I’ve already said, the harvest is a wonderful time to witness.  And it was just great taking in the blokes’ excitement in the cellar.

ready to unload

ready to unload into the crusher

Yves emptying the grenache grapes into the crusher

Yves emptying grenache grapes into the crusher

Benji and Pierre ready for the first delivery

Benji and Pierre waiting for the grapes to come through from the first delivery

Pierre photographing his fruit

Pierre (le viticulteur) photographing his babies

les filles in the 'sandpit'

les filles keeping busy in the ‘sandpit’

The grapes were carefully emptied from their ‘caisses’ (box/basket) one by one into the de-stemmer/crusher (yes, it does what it says, plucks the berries from their stems and sorts away the leaves)  which then drops the glistening little purple ‘beads’ (they look like jewellery) onto the sorting tray.  They are dropped down into another tray, with a huge turning ‘screw’ and then pumped up through the red hose, straight into the tank.  Some of the grapes were collected into buckets and emptied directly into wine barrels (second-hand, so not full-blown wood influences on the juice).  A small experiment to develop different flavours.

If the wine is as delicious as the berries tasted, everyone will be happy!…

stacked and waiting to go

stacked and waiting to go

coming through

coming through



the factory line

the factory line

into the tank

up into the tank


100% Grenache

first taste of the juice!

first taste of the juice!

Jerome passing by

Jerome passing by

Bleu Blanc Rouge

Bleu Blanc Rouge (thanks Mat!)

cleaning up

cleaning up

7 Responses to “the grapes are GO on Boulevard Napoleon”

  1. Barry Wright at 12:27 am #

    Nerdy or not, I love to see winemaker’s going about their trade… Thanks for the pics, and really pleased that you guys can relax in that the weather can no longer harm your harvest. It’s all down to controlled fermentation, and a bit of bottling 😛 so what can go wrong now… Cheers to the 2011 – eventually!

  2. Howie at 6:10 pm #

    Terrific kat, live seeing benji and crew at work! Great shots x

  3. Joanna Hill at 1:53 am #

    Hi Kat – I loved seeing all the exciting things that are going on . Beautiful photos – it all sounds fabulous . Any of that wine making its way to Oz ??

    • The vigneron's wife at 10:03 pm #

      Thanks a lot Jose!
      Mmmn, not sure about it getting to Oz unfortunately. These wines might only make it to the UK. Not sure we’ll even get in France… xoxo

  4. Philip at 1:28 pm #

    Great photo of Jerome on his tiny tractor or is he a giant?

    • The vigneron's wife at 10:06 pm #

      I would like to say he is a giant but no. And he and his brother drive the tiniest cars in the village.

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