Organic Wine-making in Bordeaux, France

We had an awesome experience living on an organic vineyard in Bordeaux, France for 2 weeks! We were in a small town just outside the city center called St. Michel de Montaigne. We learned first hand the full process of turning organic grapes into what the French call “Bio” wine (short for biologique wine, which means organic wine). We did everything from picking the grapes from the vineyard to prepping the machinery that the grapes would be processed in and then ticketing the bottles. It was the hardest physical work we’ve done, but it was incredibly rewarding!

Please read on to discover how to make organic wine:

Stage 1:  Harvesting

The vines are planted 3 years in advance as it takes this long for the vines to mature and bear fruit. At that point, harvest season begins in September and ends in October. When picking the grapes, you use a tool called secateurs to cut the grapes from the main branch on the vine.

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Stage 2: De-stemming 

Deposit the grapes into the grape crusher and de-stemmer, which is a machine that removes the grapes from the stems as well as helps to loosen the skins of the grapes for the juice to come out. Please see video below:

Stage 3: Primary Fermentation 

After the grapes go through this process, they are put into a large VAT. This is where they begin the fermentation process. Twice a day, you must check the temperatures within the VAT as well as re-distribute the juice within the tank in order to help the fermentation process along.

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Front Machine: Grape Press /  Back Machine: Large Vat

Stage 4: Pressing

After the grapes have fermented in the VAT (about 6 weeks), you must move them into the presser. This is a machine that uses pressure to squeeze all the grapes so that the juices are all released before being bottled.

Stage 5: Secondary Fermentation / Bottling

The fermented grape juice is bottled and labelled. It will further ferment in the bottle until they are ready to be sold.

**The 5 steps above are just one way of processing wine. There can be more steps in the process especially if the facility is larger scale and/or non-organic.** 

We hope this post gave you an introductory understanding of how wine is produced.

Have you made wine before? If yes, did you have more or less steps in your process? Please let us know in the comments below! 🙂

Travel Wide. Eat Well. Live Your Passion.

Sarah + Monty

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