Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Back to Champagne

If you read this blog regularly you may remember that we went to Champagne last year to the wedding of a friend who married the daughter of a champagne producer. Well, it occurred to me a few months ago that it might be interesting to go and take part in the 'vendange', which is to say, the picking of the grapes. It is an important event in France, one of the key events in the agricultural year.

I called in on my friend today and he mentioned that the picking is probably going to start on 20th September, which is only a few weeks away. I guess we will go and help out on the weekend of the 24-25th September.

He showed me a document that someone had sent him by e-mail. It was a sort of spreadsheet showing the current characteristics of the grapes which have been sampled around the region showing their alcohol content etc. I say "etc." because basically there was a lot of stuff I didn't understand on it. It reminded me rather of the sort of technical spreadsheets that I have to deal with when calculating hydrocarbon recovery!

I'm going to ask my friend for a copy of the document tomorrow and then I'll update this post with some more in depth information. It seems this sampling is necessary to predict exactly the right moment to start picking, which is something of a community decision as far as I can gather. Much more technical than what I had imagined, which was something like a man in a white linen suit wandering among the vines and then lots of people scampering around yelling: "The man from Delmonte, he say Yes!"


Andrea said...

FIRST!! Activate the word verification these damn spammers found you!
PICKING GRAPES!! SOOOOO COOLLL!! Well actually probably hard work but it could be really neat. Take pics please.
The alcohol content thing is interesting. When you post that I am totally sending it to my dad and uncle who are amature wine makers.

Jonathan Wonham said...

Thanks Andrea. Yes, I will certainly take pics. I think you're right, from what I've read, it is very hard work, but it still sounds like fun nonetheless.