Some days ago in Saintonge, Charente, the first grapes were harvested.

5.5 tonnes of grapes were carefully transported to the winery at St. Same-les-Carrières, near Jarnac, where they were unloaded into the ‘de-stemmer’ under the watchful eye of cellar master, Aurélien Nadaud, to have the leaves and branches separated from the fruit.

just a great Ungi Blanc grapes close up

Before the fruit is pressed, Mr Nadaud tests a few litres of the grape juice for ‘titre alcoolémique volumique,’ or TAV.  This is the process of measuring the level of sugar in the juice, and therefore the future alcoholic volume of the wine.  If the sugar level is too low at this point, it has to be added manually.

And the result, after a few torturous seconds wait?  11.9% – meaning a quality harvest.

Production manager, Pierre Merlet, confirms this, saying that the harvest looks good.  Even with the rains of July slowing growth, the harvest is still three weeks ahead of schedule.

Only chardonnay grapes are currently being harvested.  In ten days it will be the turn of the red grapes, followed by the grapes that will one day become our beloved eaux-de-vie.

Sources: www.sudouest.fr

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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