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Veuve Clicquot Harvest 2009- 09.23.09

vcharvestmain.jpg Veuve Clicquot was generous enough to bring me to Reims again this year to join their intimate harvest festivities (read: honored they let me come do a day of manual labor with their friends/family). I kid you not. I spent half a day in the beautiful hot champagne region sun from the break of dawn fighting jetlag clipping grapes and working my way through the rows while chatting with friends old and new. So there you have it, my excuse for why posts slowed down and got so quiet. Also minimal wifi. But really, it turns out that the best way to slow me down is tire me out! Because i certainly had no problem running around, drinking late, and still posting before bed on the last trip…

So on the next page you can take a look at my experience from sunrise to learning how to pick grapes, to wine breaks (at 9am!), to crating the grapes away, to seeing them pressed… all the missing steps from last year… it’s fascinating really to see what happens between the fresh grapes and the bottling to spend time in les crayeres. And we were back at the Verzy country estate which has some of the finest grapes behind it ~ the grapes we picked will be in the 2019 Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame if we’re lucky, so far they are saying it is a phenomenal harvest! And if nothing else, they’ve at lease guaranteed that i will have to purchase a bottle (or case!) just to see where my grapes went! So see the process first hand on the next page!


Absolutely stunning sunrise… as the fog rolls in layers in from the horizon…
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Thank goodness for coffee and pastries and juice awaiting everyone’s arrival…
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The colored sugar was just delightful!
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Now for us newbies ~ this is good!
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… not so good!
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… ATTENTION!
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So then we wander back into the vineyards, grabbing a pair of shears, a basket, and some gloves… and break into groups of 7 (7! not 6! not 8! but 7! they were very adamant about this point)… basically you’re working two sides of the row in pairs, and the 7th person is in charge of wheelbarrow duty hauling the baskets into the larger crates and the crates to the trucks.
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These vineyards are no joke! It’s a long ways down…
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Here’s a cell phone action shot! Lovely (and incredibly delicious!) bunch of grapes…
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Here are some of the blogger group ~ Costas from Yatzer, Josh from CoolHunting, and Brian from Materialiste
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Isn’t it just stunning seeing the people popping up between the lush greenery and the gorgeous blue?
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This is the 9am wine, charcuterie, bread, coffee munchie break…
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Grapes are filling up the bins…
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And loaded up on the truck!
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And thats when the champagne break begins before lunch… as we all splay out on the grass in the garden…
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Just a few minute walk down the road through the vineyards is the press…
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Grapes go in… smoosh…
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mix it around… smoosh it again…
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Out flows juice! Down the drain…
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And they even stick plastic cups into the drain hole to let us taste the juice, and while visually i felt conflicted by the process… it tastes so incredible you nearly want to take a straw to the tile…
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What’s left of the pulp gets carted away and tossed in mounds…
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And the delicious juices pumped into large vats downstairs…
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From here they really beging the journey into aging and tasting and precision blending before bottling… such an incredible process, such an honor to have the opportunity to not only help kick off the harvest, but to personally help pick some of the finest champagne grapes available… merci beaucoup, Veuve Clicquot, that was definitely an experience of a lifetime!

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2 Notes

Very cooool. I have never seen so many grapes at the same time.mmmm’ they look yummy.!

----- Ericka 22.09.09 22:35

SO SO SO JEALOUS! (Yep, I already told you that on Facebook)
Great post as usual, thanks for sharing this great day. :)

----- Joffrey 22.09.09 18:17

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