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Autumn

The grape-harvest, which usually starts during the first half of September, is a crucial time for champagne growers and makers.

The exact dates authorizing the start of the harvest are fixed by the Viticultural Champagne Association ( AVC ) and the Prefect , village by village, depending on the degree of grape maturity.

Every year the Inter-professional Committee of Wine from Champagne (CIVC) together with the INAO determines the quantity of grapes per hectare that will be entitled to the Champagne appellation in 2008, it was 13,400 kg/ha. Last year, in 2009, only 9,700 kg/ha and in 2010, this year, 10,500 kg/ha.

Grape picking begins about 100 days after the flowering of the vine between the beginning of September and mid-October.

This is the time of year when large numbers of people flock from all over France to take part in manual grape picking in Champagne!

Very friendly grape-pickers!
Very friendly grape-pickers!

Grapes are only picked by hand. The pickers use vine shears to cut them.

Vine shears: "sécateur"
Vine shears: "sécateur"

They put them in round plastic buckets or baskets. When full, they are emptied into” panniers mannequins”.

The "paniers mannequins"
The "paniers mannequins"

These containers are then loaded onto the tractor and taken to the press. Grapes are always pressed a few hours later.

Loading the "paniers mannequins"
Loading the "paniers mannequins"

The same team of pickers has been coming back to us for more than 20 years now ! They have become real friends and we always look forward to seeing them again every year!

On the last day of grape-picking, it is customary to have a big dinner called the "Cochelet"

This year, grape-picking started on Monday 15th September and ended on Wednesday 24th September.

As usual, we had our great "team" of pickers! And this year ... the Mante Family from the Philippines !!

But Autumn is certainly the most amazing season of the year with its spectacular shows of Autumn colours! Just look at the photos ...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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