Spring in the Vineyard – The Darling Buds of April and May

If you’ve read any of my other posts about our vineyard, you’ll be coming to realise that a vineyard’s work is never done.  Each season brings a different requirement. Obviously harvest in autumn, but then there is pruning in winter and come spring, de-budding.  But what is ‘de-budding’? Continue reading

Chickens in the Vineyard

We have a little vineyard of 90 Chardonnay vines in the midst of our vegetable garden. They are in their second year, which means next year we should get grapes and make some wine. It takes 3 to 5 years for vines to mature enough to be able to start making wine.  In a very productive year you can get up to 2 bottles of wine out of a vine, but generally it’s 1 and a little more.

I was weeding and tucking in the vines the other day and the chickens, along with Maggie Duckling, decided they needed to help me. I can’t say they managed that much weeding, although Maggie ate quite a few of them, but they did enjoy following after me and finding the bugs unveiled as I removed the weeds.

 

Winter Work in the Vineyard – Not a fun job (unless you make it so)

When we think of vineyards we generally think of autumn and harvest, when the grapes are collected and made into wine. This is the busiest time of year for both the vineyard and the winery. But there is lots of work to do in the vineyard through out the year.  In winter, there is the pruning and tying down, getting it ready for the next year’s harvest and beyond. Continue reading

Our First Harvest – Wine Making, Cleaning and Beer

There’s an adage in the world of wine making – making wine is 90% cleaning and 10% beer.  The Cleaning has to be done and done thoroughly, both before and after using any and all equipment. Why so fastidious? There are a lot of mildews, rots, chemical reactions and more in the world of agriculture and so, to limit the chances of spoilage, you clean. And yes, wine making is part of this agricultural world, just rather glorified beyond the likes of, say, wheat growing for cereal, possibly because you have to do rather more to get to the complete product. Read On

Our First Harvest – Pursuing grapes, bees, birds, mildew and rot

We were given the go ahead to work on our vineyard in September, right in the middle of harvest time. Talk about thrown in the deep end. But the plus side is from the get go we would know what we were dealing with, which would then highlight what the priorities would be in the vineyard in the next year, as well as what would be needed in the winery. Read On

Finding a Vineyard in Burgundy – Part 3

In conjunction with our How to find a Vineyard in France (Part 1 & Part 2), there is another story to tell in our unfolding wine making saga. This story began at a similar time, and developed along side, the discovering of SAFER and all we undertook with them.

The background… As part of living here, we are working to improve our language skills and start to fit in to the neighbourhood around us. The French are wonderful about inviting you around for drinks and nibbles of an early evening to get to know each other, and in our case a chance to practise our developing French, or sometimes their English. Either way, discussions about vineyards were generally soon to crop up and it was very heart warming how much everyone wanted to assist us.

It was at a reciprocal (very much how it is done here) drinks & nibbles  with some neighbours that we were told of a nearby Chateau that had vines that were going to the birds, literally. It was possible the owners might be willing to let us have the grapes, rather than the birds and bees, to make into wine.  Would we like an introduction? Can birds and bees fly? Continue reading

Finding a Vineyard in France (or not) – Part 2

After attending the public meeting with SAFER in Chichee about vineyards for sale, feeling still completely blind and rather disorientated, we headed off to look over the areas that had been discussed at the meeting, trying to determine which vineyards were the ones up for sale.

After thoroughly wasting our time, but managing to settle our nerves, we got home to discover a message had been left for us to phone SAFER. Zing, the nerves came right back. Read on

How to Find a Vineyard in France (or not) – Part I

We spent our first half a year here in France trying to understand how things worked, let alone in French.  We both needed to learn and improve our French, but at the same time we also needed to figure out how we go about finding an available vineyard to buy or rent.

We had come to France after all to make our own wine. Read on