September 11, 2014
We started the day out in one of the Aligote vineyards flagging cordons (arms) of vines
which did not have much fruit on them in order to later have them converted over to
cane-pruning in hopes of increasing productivity. It was quite pleasant being out in the
sun with a lovely view of the hills of Volnay and Pommard to the west. Then it was time
for more cluster sampling and a trip to the communal laboratory to press the samples
and to have a late morning beer…
After lunch I was surprised to learn that we were going out to begin the 2014 harvest
by picking the Pommard premier cru Les Pezerolles and the Beaune premier cru Les
Aigrots (red)—two of the parcels hit hardest by the June hail storm. The harvest crew
was not scheduled to arrive until next Wednesday, so I put my Clos Pepe harvesting
training to good use and cut down clusters with clippers (just like what we use back in
the US) for the rest of the afternoon. We were back to the winery by 5 p.m. and had the
clusters sorted, destemmed, and bucketed into the tank by 6:00 p.m. To me the largest
difference between harvesting in Burgundy versus the Sta. Rita Hills is the time of day.
In California we harvest either at night or very early morning in order to bring the grapes
in cold; in Burgundy everyone harvests during daylight hours throughout the entire day.
Friday morning we went back and finished harvesting the Les Aigrots parcel. It was
quite striking how much of an effect the hail had on the yields. On some vines that were
protected by a trellis post, there might be 12-20 clusters, whereas on the most heavily
damaged vines there might be an individual berry (not kidding). We finished processing
the grapes by early afternoon, then prepared for the first Beaujolais harvest on Monday.
After work beers in the winery courtyard launched us into a relaxing weekend.