At this time of the year, our producers in North Hampshire are busy with their vineyard harvest. It is a very special time as all their hard work is finally coming to fruition! Numa will be sharing with us his harvest routines, practices and thoughts of the region! Let’s take a closer look at the work that goes into producing a bottle of wine.
Numa Cornut has been a viticultural consultant in the Burgundy region since 2010. In 2021, he started making his wine from vineyard sites in Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits, which have a total of 3.5 hectares. Numa aims to produce top-quality wine that fully expresses the only two grape varieties he plants – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He wants to keep the vineyard size small to ensure a focus on quality over quantity. The use of indigenous yeasts helps to emphasise terroir over extraction. In the cellar, we limit the use of new oak as much as possible, and wines are not filtered to preserve the specific aroma of each terroir.
Numa talks about getting ready for the 2023 vintage.
Watching the grapes grow and ripen is always exciting but requires a lot of patience.During this time, we analysed the grapes’ condition to plan for precise harvest timing and decisions. For example, we always start the harvest with white grapes. However, this year’s heat in August caused everything to move quickly, and we decided to harvest faster than planned.
Meanwhile, we were busy getting everything ready in the winery, cleaning the press, tanks and picking bins. Making sure all the equipment was in good order. Hopefully, this will prevent any emergency repairs mid-harvest. However, things do not always go according to plan. This year, we had an incident during the second press, where the machine stopped working. Luckily, we found the issue and fixed it. Otherwise, it could have gone down badly which I can’t imagine!
On the day of harvest
The days are long and intense but very exciting, as the work of a whole year comes to fruition.
At 7:30 am, we started our 7-hour shift under the sunshine to pick the grapes by hand with a team of 25 pickers. After, we placed the harvested bunches in cold storage for sorting them the next morning.
During lunchtime, we all headed back to the cellar to share a small meal and rest for an hour. This is very important for the team to regain strength and stay focused in the vineyard for the afternoon.
At 5 pm, we finished the work at the vineyard but the wheel kept spinning! After a break, we continued to work in the cellar to vinify wines until 10 in the evening.
This long and intense routine was repeated for a little more than a month. During the harvest this year, my vineyard manager told me he would be leaving the team for another job. And the new job would be my secretary, where he could get some rest in the office rather than running around everywhere all the time! Of course, it was a joke but it showed how tough the job was. However, it came with a lot of satisfaction when everything fell into place.
At the end of the harvest, the team spent a day together in the cellar with some good food and wines. I also gave each member a bottle of Gin made by his wife as a thank-you gift. Without their commitment, we would not be able to make it through the harvest!
What can we expect from the 2023’s harvest?
The 2023 season was not a straightforward one in the vineyard as we continuously fought against diseases due to the constant rainfall in May and June. But we never gave up and the hard work paid off. We are anticipating beautiful balance and freshness from the delicate extractions in this vintage. I can’t wait to present this new and very promising 2023 vintage to all of you soon!
While we are waiting for the 2023 vintage, read more about Numa Cornut and his wines!
This Blog post is written by Sharon Wong
Consumer Sales and Marketing Manager of Wanderlust Wine
Sharon is the the driving force behind our website, wine club, marketing activities, and Wanderlust Wine events.