Harvest and Winemaking 2021

How many crates did you bring? There’s no station near where I work or at Nuits either… You go around the Prémeaux woods… There’s some tuna left… Goodness gracious, don’t throw all of that there!… Part of Varouilles is ready to pick, but another part is far from being ready… OK, bearers, walk along the rows, gather the buckets, don’t wait for them to be totally full… Go ahead, throw it over! You’re so serious, “Be-good”! I look great like this… Pickers, follow me! – How’s it going? – Fine, and you? OK… Let’s go! Watch out for the pirate… The space pirate… We check everyone’s row… looking for anything forgotten… Here, and also in Alsace, where I’m headed afterwards, both places are like family… I wouldn’t want to change for anywhere else. It was raised on Clavisy Farm, they raise livestock, there’s this breeder, Guillaume Vernin, who… is located here in Burgundy. He raises lambs… and cattle… he’s organized a network of nearby producers… who also traditionally raise their pigs. So in fact they’ve also set up… a modern facility allowing them to sell to restaurants… It was one of the suppliers for Bist’roch. We take advantage of when he’s in the area… Tuesdays and Fridays to buy his quality meat, to serve everyone who eats with us… We’re preparing this pork now for tomorrow’s lunch… by deboning and marinating it. We will then sauté the pork… for an Asian type dish… So we will sauté the pork with ginger… as well as some garlic, onion and soy sauce. We’ll then add to this some stewed eggplant, a little rice sauteed with peanuts, followed by some salad. That’s it. For those harvesting the grapes, Here we eat well, drink well… Long live the Corvées! 350 years!… Let’s review 2021’s harvest. Up until now, a difficult year. Right to the end. We had heavy frosts in the spring… which cost us a lot of the crop. A very complicated year, because next we had a lot of rain… Probably 40 days of rain out of the 60 when we usually manage treatments, to make things worse some disease… like powdery mildew, downy mildew, which infected things in some parts of the vineyard. Infecting the grapes and grapevines. But we came out fairly well, but we had to treat weekends, unhappily the only days possible… so we treated more often, we really tried to keep on top of it… difficult because in the vineyard using the tractor was complicated… We had issues with tilling the soil, meaning more grass than usual… with all that the vines suffered. Along with the problems of rainfall, cool temperatures, and heat waves at times so the vines grew, sometimes as much as 35cm a night! So the work was very complicated for our crews, and the workers of specific lots, meaning more hours per day to manage everything. So a very complicated year… On top of all this, there was a serious lack of available workers this year. Instead of our usual crew of 90 for the harvest, we began with only 30 pickers. So one-third fewer workers… this meant it took a lot longer to pick the grapes, which were quite fragile this year, so there is a high risk of spoilage, as the grapes may go bad after rain… which was followed by hot spells, so rot can develop, and this means some crop loss due to the lack of workers. So apart from a later harvest linked to new growth after the frosts, we also have crop loss, the grapes will spoil fairly soon, because once the fruit is ripe, if it isn’t picked immediately, it becomes over-ripe, and the problem is that it begins to rot… and we have crop loss. This is the first time we’ve had any difficulty finding workers. Not just us, it’s the case for everyone. We tried using all kinds of organizations to find people, but they’ve only come little by little… In spite of this, it’s a rather good harvest, although with a small yield, For most of our vineyards, we’ve had a significant crop loss, with as much as 50 to 60% loss for some plots, and others having 20 to 30%. This is very complicated to manage. But the real problem, and what’s really heartbreaking… is to have ripe grapes with no way to harvest them, because of no pickers, that is such a shame… A huge thank you to the grape harvesters and the entire crew of the domaine. For Henri-Frédéric Roch