Today's blog post has been written by Doug & Caroline, who came to Le Couvent, Roujan hoping that they could take part in our grape harvest.
Following a long drive to Roujan on Monday two weeks ago, we arrived to a very warm welcome from Liz & Ali, only to find the weather had put a premature end to this year's grape harvest. Therefore no vendange for us this year, however as some of the harvest had been salvaged there was the option to be involved with the next process, turning it into wine (yip-pee).
Thanks to lots of hard work before we arrived the grapes had already been transported into the village were in a vat and starting to ferment. So twice a day the fermenting grape & juice mix had to be mixed by hand & on the 2nd occasion daily the specific gravity of the liquid had to be measured for percentage of potential alcohol.
Within a few days of doing this the mixture was at its prime, and time to extract the grapes from the juice, it was decided that Sunday would be the ideal time for this 1100 to be exact.
Sunday 1100 we all met at the Cave (Caroline, Liz, Ali, Colin, Judith, Justine, Michelle, Josh & I) ready to start the separation process. This involved draining the grape juice from one tank into another (by bucket), after we had transferred approximately 280ltrs of liquid from the first tank all that was left was the remaining grapes. These grapes still had potential to produce more juice so they needed to be taken out of the tank & be pressed, this meant that someone would have to get in to the tank and bucket the remaining contents out. I was that volunteer, so off with the shoes & socks, down to my speedo's and in I got. What a sensation paddling in soggy grapes being overwhelmed by the pungent smell they were giving off. It was great.
Once the remaining contents of the tank had been transferred to smaller containers and put into a van, we all went a few kilometres to where the press was situated. We all then took it in turns to press the juice from the grapes, which resulted in a further 100ltrs of juice that could be added to the 280ltrs back at the Cave. The following day we did exactly that, so there is now nearly 400ltrs of premium Chateau Mal Au Dos vintage 2008 maturing in a secrete location somewhere in Roujan.
Despite not being able to pick any grapes on this visit to Roujan we have had a fantastic time and feel very honoured to be part of the team that helped produced the very first batch of wine from Chateau Mal Au Dos. And who knows what other years will bring..
A very, very honoured & overwhelmed
Doug & Caroline.