The latest updates from our winemakers and our homes in lockdown around the world...
Luckily at Wildeberg, the harvest was completed before lockdown was introduced. The team has been cut back to two: JD in the winery and Wynand in the vineyards, who only greet one another from afar.
“We are currently racking the 2020 harvest red wines as they finish with malolactic fermentation and then returning them to barrel, where they will mature for 9-22 months, depending on the wine. Our vineyard is getting ready for its ‘beauty sleep’ over winter, ready to produce grapes for its first vintage in 2021. We are super exited!”
– JD Rossouw, Head Winemaker
Vineyards and wineries in the UK have been allowed to keep working under lockdown, as long as staff respect social distancing rules. With a small crew of three and seven hectares to share, this isn’t a problem for the team at Henners.
“Team Henners has been busy preparing for the start of the growing season, which has involved pruning, pulling out, tying down the vines and then general vineyard maintenance including fixing wires and posts. The weather in the last couple of weeks has been glorious and after a winter of almost solid rain it has been a relief to be able to get out into the vineyard and prepare for the next season. We are on the cusp of budburst here, and it looks like it will be more or less in line with 2019 with the vineyard expected to burst into life over Easter. We have our fingers crossed for a nice warm spell which would reduce frost risk and set us on our way towards another successful season.”
– Collette O’Leary, Estate Manager & Winemaker
Samantha Bailey, Master Blender and Winemaker at Boutinot France, is now working from her home in Beaujolais, making the most of this unusual time.
“I’m really lucky to be able to open my garden gate and walk straight into vineyards. I dutifully fill in my attestation indicating why I am outside (my dogs need walking), but to date I’ve not come across the police in the vineyards. What I have come across is hares, pheasants, woodpeckers and flourishing vines. We have had a spout of amazing weather and literally from one day to the next the vines are changing. If I were to sit still I’m pretty sure I would actually see the greenery growing…
“After some pretty chilly mornings at the end of March, with temperatures just below zero we’re now up to daytime temperature of around 20°C, so the leafbuds are opening up to absorb the sun. I have noticed that the vines pruned in guyot formation are more advanced than the old gobelet vines, but it’s only a question of a few days. In general, the vegetation is about 10 days ahead of its ’normal’ growing pattern and the vignerons are busy with last minute pruning and vineyard upkeep.
“Mother Nature will not be confined, and if we want to have vintage 2020 to bottle we just have to watch and work in accordance with the signs that she provides. Working outside can have its downside, but at the moment our vigneron colleagues and partners are viewed with envy because of the outdoor freedom that they are enjoying whilst others are stuck indoors. Vive le printemps!”
– Samantha Bailey, Master Blender & Winemaker
Work is continuing as much as possible at Domaine Boutinot, with a reduced team and Head Winemaker, Julien Dugas, on site every day.
The vines are waking up after their winter dormancy and the team have finished pruning and tying them down ahead of the growing season.
With all that in place, focus has shifted to bottling!
Les Deux Barriques 2017 has been bottled this week.
This wine is only produced in exceptional vintages, so coupled with the unusual circumstances around the bottling, the 2017 will definitely be a vintage to remember!