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

A Taste of Bordeaux

Bordeaux is known worldwide for its great tasting wine. Fortunately, we were able to spend a significant amount of time in the region to learn that it offers so much more! We fell in love with its beautifully preserved 18th century architecture, less-trafficked, walkable neighborhoods, diverse culture, and its abundant food scene.

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In this post, we are going to focus on the Bordeaux food scene showing you everything from where you should grab your morning croissant to where to experience modern and delicious French cuisine all in one day! Please read on.

Breakfast @ Paul 

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Image from paul.fr
  • Location: 33 Rue Saint-Catherine (This location has outdoor seating)
  • Price: $
  • Favorite Meal(s): Croissant with Hot Chocolate
  • Highlights:  Start your morning at the popular chain, Paul, for some of the fluffiest croissants and most velvety cup of hot chocolate. Paul is located all over the city, but we dined at the location in  the city center.

Lunch @ La Salle

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  • Location: 18 Rue Saint- Joseph
  • Price: $
  • Favorite Meal(s): Roast Beef with carmelized onions and roasted potatoes
  • Highlights: Get ready for a local experience at La Salle featuring a minimal eclectic décor with home-style hospitality making you feel like you are in the chef’s living room. The menu changes daily and is hand-written on chalk-board adding to the restaurant’s charm.

#FITip: This restaurant is only open for lunch: Mon – Fri from 12 – 2:30pm !

Afternoon Organic Wine Tasting @ Cousin et Compagnie 

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  • Location: 2 Rue de Pas – Saint Georges
  • Price: $ – $$$
  • Favorite Drink(s): Vintage Devin (produced by owner of shop)
  • Highlights: What is special about this wine shop is the large assortment of organic wines covering the walls from floor to sealing. It’s a busy atmosphere, but the sommeliers are happy to help you navigate their collection.

Dinner @ Le Troquet 

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  • Location: 18 Rue Fernand Philippart
  • Price: $$
  • Favorite Meal(s):  Salmon and Gnocchi and Grilled Beef with Sweet Potato Chips & Corn Salsa
  • Highlights: If you enjoy the wines at Cousin et Compagnie, then you will love the way they are paired with the menu items at this restaurant. Le Troquet is an intimate spot located just outside Place du Parliament featuring a rustic-farmhouse interior with colorful, modern plating. This is the perfect dinner spot after experiencing the beautiful streets of Bordeaux.

Travel Wide. Eat Well. Live Your Passion. 

Sarah + Monty

3 Cafes You Must Try in Detroit

Today we are breaking down our top 3 cafes in Detroit, MI. Detroit is a historical and innovative city that was once the hub for modern industry in the United States. Since it’s hay-day the city has fallen on hard times, but has seen a resurgence in recent years through its food and real-estate scenes. We love this city for its young and energetic vibe, thriving arts scene, and farm-to-table foodie culture.

Please see below for our list of cafes serving up the best bites and coffee in different neighborhoods throughout Detroit:

Roasting Plant

  • Location: Downtown Detroit
  • Price: $$
  • Favorite Drink(s): Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
  • Highlights: An engineer turned coffee connaisseur from NY innovated the coffee pods that house the various international beans decorating this coffee shop. It’s a great meet- up spot, close to the waterfront, and to downtown attractions.

Red Hook

  • Location: West Village
  • Price: $$
  • Favorite Drink (s): Tumeric Latte with Coconut Milk
  • Highlights: This is a great place to grab coffee/ tea. It has both indoor and outdoor seating with just enough space for small group meet-ups.

Folk

  • Location: Corktown
  • Price: $$
  • Favorite Dish(es): Breakfast Quiche and Hash Plate
  • Highlights: All dishes are made with ingredients from local Michigan farmers. It’s a great casual brunch spot with outdoor seating.

Have you been to Detroit? Let us know your recommendations in the comments below!

Travel Wide. Eat Well. Live Your Passion.

Sarah + Monty