“Hi girls, do you want to see how the harvest is going on the coast!?”
Such is the invitation sent to us by the owner of Domaine CLAIRE MAYOL, Guillaume Montchal, one fine morning in August...
Always up for new adventures, we didn't need to think long to decide!
Soon after, ready and full of enthusiasm, my colleagues Marjorie, Marike and I await our first harvest experience. However, we have neglected a tiny detail… Getting up early is a must! The appointment was fixed at 7am (!) in the morning at the cellar of Port-Vendres to load the equipment, gather the team and direct us to the vineyards of Cosprons.
A morning surprise that added a dose of the unexpected to our adventure.
Upon our arrival, the magic of the sunrise…
L'Anse de Paulilles wakes up in an explosion of colors, forcefully announcing the arrival of a new day. The sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea reflect the golden rays of the sun, while the vines stretch as far as the eye can see, creating a symphony of green shades.
In this idyllic setting, we feel transported to the top of the world, ready to take up all the challenges that lie before us.
Distribution of secateurs and little explanations for novices like us. We have to follow the rows assigned to each one and when we are finished, we are redistributed others, in a fan pattern... Another small detail that is important, the vines at Cosprons are on the terrace, so it goes up and down, it's physical.
In the team, children and much older people, but everyone with the desire to do well and the atmosphere is very nice. We sing, we joke while working at a good pace. Everyone has their task, the cutters, the carriers and those who take care of the supply and the coordination!
All work deserves reward, and we were treated to a great “esmorzar” (breakfast in Catalan) in the middle of the vineyards. A welcome break with local Catalan products, accompanied by wine from the estate (in moderation, however, there is still work to be done!). It's magic and it gives us strength.
A few more steps...
… in a good mood and we came to the end of the 3 ha of organic vines which extended over several plots. This is how 2 tons of Grenache grapes were harvested, crowning our efforts.
Our indulgence: tasting grapes during the cutting of the bunches, adding a gourmet touch to our task! This grape was a delight, soft and incredibly sweet.
At the end of the morning, here we are back at the cellar for a barbecue generously offered by Guillaume and his wife. This young couple, owners of the estate, exude motivation and passion. A convivial feast that delighted our taste buds and strengthened our bond with these inspiring hosts.
The day is not over...
After this break, we had to get back to work, yes the next step was waiting for us.
Unload the crates of grapes and pass them through the "scratching post", a device that separates the grapes from the branches and leaves. There too it's physical, and you have to work in rhythm so as not to waste these precious grains.
At the exit of the "scratching post" they are transported to the vats for the start of their transformation into wine, the vinification stage begins! It is Guillaume, who will take care of it with his know-how to delight us with his cuvées from our Banyuls-Collioure region.
An extraordinary first experience…
…full of conviviality and to renew without hesitation. We enjoyed it so much that we are already invited to the 2023 harvest! A privilege that we look forward to.