After many days with very long hours, the vintage 2022 in is now in barrels, finishing the phase of malolactic fermentation. And a somewhat quieter period in Chateau Le Pin Beausoleil begins. Igor Leclere has started pruning the vines now during the cold season, where the plants transit to a recovery phase after the hot summer. Temperatures have been around 0°C for some weeks before they started to rise again. The pruning will now continue for several weeks. While it is hard work, it also offers peaceful moments of meditation, carefully preparing the plants for the next season.
Winter pruning is an arduous but very important task as it determines the number of buds left on the vine for the following growing season and subsequent harvest. As you can see, there is little rest when it comes to the production of good quality wine.
This period of the year also allows us to prepare the 2021 vintage for its final phase. The wine is removed from the barrels and transferred to the vats for the final phase of maturation. It is at this phase as well that the assembly of the final product takes place, as the content of the different barrels is collected in large vessels, the vats. The wines will be put to rest for another period of several months before the bottling.
After being emptied the barrels are carefully cleaned under high pressure with warm water to be partially re-used during the next season. Second year barrels are no longer used and sold to other wine producers or for different purposes such as decoration or whisky refinement.
“Because we work in the production of beverages for human consumption, we are held to certain strict sanitation standards at all steps of the wine making. As a consequence, we are always cleaning,” says Igor Leclere. From cleaning barrels and floors to making room for the next vintage of wines to general maintenance, there’s always something to do. Not only is cleaning of utmost importance for sanitation purposes. It also allows organizing the cellar to keep up on logistics and planning
In essence, there is no real “slow season” when it comes to winemaking. The pace slows down a bit after harvest, but the work and consistent care for the wines is a constant occupation.
In addition, these winter months allow time to plan on new projects, to make important decisions, to do more research and continue to educate ourselves. While the world seems to act in a constant crisis mode, from the Coronavirus pandemic to the war in the Ukraine, the regularly paced, forward looking work in the winery allows us to maintain a somewhat different, longer perspective in life: We create high quality products that may be enjoyed many years later by somebody in a country far away from the place, where it was produced.