Friday 23 September 2011

Harvest time at Château IBJ

After 20 years in the wine business (how time flies), 7 of which have been spent in the Languedoc, I couldn't resist any longer. Yes, we bought a vineyard. Since May this year we have been owners of a small but perfectly formed hectare of Syrah vines. 15 years old, and in a beautiful spot on the other side of the hill from our house in the Minervois village of Mailhac.

The vines came with a share in the local cave co-op so we sold some of the grapes there but kept back 3 rows for ourselves which we have vinified in the corner of the garage.

The bit for the co-op was harvested on the 9th September (hubby's birthday).

The grapes for us were harvested a week later on the 16th September.

Here is our neighbour and consultant winemaker, Didier.

The grapes were destemmed

And then poured from the bins into a 1000 litre tank. They just fit!

More on the vinification in the next post.


  1. Nice to be your friends. Your blog contains useful information. Many thanks

  2. Exciting times - do keep reporting on progress.
    Presume the vineyard is tied to the coop for a number of years.
    Did you do anything different in the vineyard with the 3 rows destined for your garage?

  3. Graham,
    The vineyard is tied to the co-op until 2013. They know that we are doing our own thing with some of the production and are cool with that.

    We bought the vineyard too late in the season to do major changes to trellising and pruning so this year was all about observing the vineyard in terms of vigour, yield etc. When we were trimming the shoots in June/july is seemed that rows in the centre of the vineyard had less vigour (Syrah is v vigorous and the canes grow long v quickly) yet still had a healthy leaf canopy and good fruit set. The vines seemed more balanced here than vines in other parts of the vineyard that had a denser canopy and where we had to trim and leaf pluck more to open up the fruit.
    Originally we were only going to harvest 2 rows but when we re-did out sums the day before the co-op harvest we decided we needed 3 rows to make 500 litres of red plus some rosé. I chose the other row on the edge of the vineyard because the grapes tasted particularly good.

  4. To a woman has truly chosen her direction ... ! Congratulations and wishing you every success.