October 5th 2011, by Gavin
With the growing season almost three weeks ahead of last year, the harvest of our white grapes at Château Bauduc kicked off at the end of August. It wasn’t the easiest vintage, as we had four months of near-drought from March to early July and a tad too much rain from mid-July to the beginning of September. The summer was cool overall but at times it was very humid, which caused problems. In the end, after getting hands-on in the vines to sort the grapes, we’re pretty pleased with the result.
Here’s the story of the white harvest in photos. Click on an image to enlarge it.
Update, Summer 2012: if you’re in the UK and would like to sample the fruits of our labour, you can order the wine here.
October 28th 2010, by Gavin
We harvested our red grapes in perfect condition during October. Whether other Châteaux in Bordeaux are making wines as good as or even better than last year remains to be seen, but after frost here at Bauduc in April 2008 and hail in May 2009, it’s a welcome change for us to bring in such quality, and quantity.
2010 has been a remarkable year for us in so many ways.
1. No major natural disasters: no Spring frost to decimate the yield by nipping the shoots in the bud. No late Spring hail to destroy the young shoots and baby bunches. Even the drought conditions this Summer didn’t dry up our hopes for a splendid crop. Let’s pray that there’ll be no repeat of any damaging storms this Winter.
2. No man-made catestrophes: no tractors catching fire during the harvest (above right, in 2009), and no trailors full of grapes tipping over: our former employee, Sebastien, pictured right, was probably wishing he’d taken a sicky the day I took this shot in late September, 2005. I’ve not published this photo before as it wasn’t exactly our finest hour. We ended up selling the tank of wine that these grapes went into, in ‘bulk’ and at a loss.
July 28th 2010, by Gavin
We hardly ever get emails from irate customers, or potential customers, so this one really stood out. Forgive me for the length of this article but I thought I’d reproduce the exchange in full, excluding contact blurb etc. The customer’s emails are in Blue, my wife Angela’s in Mauve, mine in black.
Really sorry you had so much trouble with the website – I will try and find out why your password didn’t work. If you let me know what wine you would like we can arrange to have it delivered for you.
All the best, Angela
From: Gavin Quinney Subject: Re: Password, idiots and so on
Dear xxxx Thanks for the email. Obviously our website gave you some problems, so sorry about that. I’m afraid I can’t find you registered on our system at all. When you put in your email address, at the question:
‘Are you a new or existing online customer?’
Did you click ‘I am a new customer’ or ‘I am an existing customer, and my password is..’?
If you click ‘I am a new customer’ it should work. By all means give me a call.
Kind regards, Gavin Quinney (aka Chief Idiot)
May 8th 2010, by Gavin
There was an extraordinary story in both the Torygraph and the Grauniad this week about one of the world’s greatest wine estates being blackmailed by some chap who threatened to poison the precious vines. The dastardly villain, who must be a bunch short of a full basket, tried to extract €1 million from Aubert de Villaine, the co-director of Domaine de la Romanée Conti in Burgundy, and to prove his evil intentions he nobbled a priceless Pinot. Monsieur de Villaine, who was named recently by Decanter magazine as their ‘Man of the Year’, managed to trap the plonker with the aid of the local gendarmes and a stash of false banknotes.
Four years ago, I thought we had a similar situation on our hands at Bauduc when I found a row of young vines (above) which looked for all the world like they’d been poisoned. Over 100 recently planted Sauvignon Blanc vines had died in mysterious circumstances and there appeared to be no natural reason as to why the leaves had literally withered on the vine.
September 21st 2009, by Gavin
A 5 minute video update on the state of our vineyards at harvest time, 4 months on from the devastating hailstorms in May.
September 20th 2009, by Gavin
After some handpicking fun at the start of the harvest, it’s now down to business.
For the past five vintages we’ve harvested the white grapes – and the reds for rosé – by machine, in the small, wee hours of the morning. Early, chilly starts make for zippy, fresh grapes, even if we ourselves look a bit doggy at the end of the day. So you’ll be pleased to know that we don’t feature in this 5 minute clip, which might be of interest to wine lovers who have never seen harvesting machines at work.
This 4 hectare (10 acre) block of Sauvignon Blanc was the only white parcel at the château to produce any reasonable amount of grapes following the hail in May – and the grapes from here have always gone into our Bordeaux Blanc Sec. But the yield from this more protected part of the vineyard was still only 20 hectolitres (2000 litres) per hectare, way down on the maximum quota allowed in 2009 of 65 hl (6500 l)/ha.
September 11th 2009, by Gavin
The 2009 Bordeaux white wine harvest at Château Bauduc began at 9am, on the ninth of the ninth.
We picked a couple of hectares of young Sauvignon Blanc vines by hand, with the help of some of Britain’s most talented students and the youngest members of the Quinney family who don’t have school on wednesdays.
June 3rd 2009, by Gavin
Never mind the recession, the strong euro, the weak pound, increased duty costs and global over-supply of cheap, industrial wine. It’s back to nature, and sometimes nature can be cruel.
Thanks for watching, and excuse the French. Feel free to leave a comment below, or a question.
February 10th 2009, by Gavin
As Oz Clarke and James May prepare to wrap up their third series on BBC2 (Tuesdays, 8pm), here is their very first Big Wine Adventure pitstop back in August 2006.
‘How was your trip?’ I asked. ‘You’re the first living people we’ve seen’ was James’s first dejected remark to us, after their long drive south to Bordeaux. Their Wine Adventure had begun.
In hindsight, it would have been better not to mention the price of a bottle as it dates very quickly. £6.50? These were the heady days when the exchange rate was 1.47 euros to the pound, and UK duty on a bottle was a lot less.
If you’d like to leave a comment, or ask a question, feel free to do so below.
October 3rd 2008, by Gavin
It has been clear from the start that this was going to be a late harvest. So the vineyard work that we carried out earlier in the season has been crucial and as a result, thankfully, our vines and red grapes look really healthy as they creep closer towards ripeness. The photo, taken yesterday, shows the leaves all green and the grapes free of rot. For the time being, at least.