Going green – March photo journal

Going green – March photo journal

Posted by Gavin Quinney on 29th Mar 2024

Good Friday is one of those strange days when it’s a day off in the UK but not a holiday in France – like Boxing Day in fact. A sensible compromise might be for us to take half a day off.

Angela is breathing a sigh of relief because we were intending to send out my ‘Bordeaux 2023 weather and crop report’ as our end-of-month newsletter. However, we’ve decided not to tarnish everyone’s Easter and to hold off before sending it out in a couple of weeks. That will also give some time for Jancis Robinson to check up on the numerous yet thrilling graphs and tables before she publishes the report on her leading wine site and for Liv-ex – the fine wine exchange – to do likewise.

So instead here are some images of what could be called our latest green initiative. You might also think we just make things up as we go along.

Have a great Easter.

All the best

Gavin & Angela Quinney

Many thanks to everyone who’s been in touch about Bauduc being the Official Wine of the Tour for the series of evenings with Rick Stein around the UK. Click the link here if you missed last month’s missive about it all. We were delighted to receive such generous and free publicity in the packed theatres (free that it is, apart from the wine Rick consumed).

This was the image they used for the start of the evening. As a few people correctly pointed out, the swimming pool is missing from around where the word Bauduc is, bottom right. We do admit that the pool has been photoshopped out as it didn’t set quite the right tone.

The theme is ‘going green’ and indeed it feels like spring has almost arrived.

The vines are waking up after the winter rest and the pruning. That’s Merlot on the left and Sauvignon Blanc on the right.

Green leaves are fast appearing on the bursting buds around the vineyard and we need to get a lick on to tie the branches down to the training wires.

Earlier this month it was all go with the bottling machine housed inside this enormous green truck with matching forklift.

It’s been windy at times. ‘And if ten green bottles should accidentally fall… .’ Rather more than ten – well over 10,000 times that. But all was fine.

Time to bottle ‘the big green’ – aka Sauvignon Blanc – from the 2023 harvest.

Fancy kit all lined up in the winery for the bottling.

Our man Daniel and the guys from Bordeaux’s foremost bottling company are all kitted out in green and couldn’t be happier.

And the ladies too, putting classy green bottles with green flashes on smart labels into snappy green-striped boxes.

The start and the end of the bottling and labelling run, in effect.

This is the best drive-in bottling machine in Bordeaux for Stelvin screw caps. We’ve also trialled some Diam corks on the white and rosé this time, as well as for some smart magnums, using the same machine.

We weren’t able to source our classic Bauduc bottle for the majority of the 2022 whites, when we had to use a ‘classic’ bottle green. So we’re delighted to have our preferred bottle back with the couleur that’s known as ‘antique‘ or occasionally ‘chêne‘.

There was a period over the last two years when the lead time for our bespoke Château Bauduc Stelvin capsules went from 4-5 weeks lead time to 8-9 months.

More, crucial flashes of green.

It takes me personally several weeks to design, write and sign off all the front and back labels, as there are so many. This is the batch for this year’s bottling and labelling. We’ve reverted to having vintage-specific back labels for most of the wines.

This is just some of the Sauvignon Blanc 2023. At least we have the space, just about.

Meanwhile, more green bottles in March. This time our sparkling Crémant 2020 which was disgorged after 24 months on the lees. More on this another time but it will be released at the same time as the 2023 dry whites and rosés.

Off with the crown cap just before the cork goes in.

The end of a long process, almost.

Neatly stacked and ready to go.

Down at the château, an unusual splash of green this month.

This most definitely does not qualify for Château DIY.

The scene yesterday morning. The scaffolding is up mainly for replacing the slate roof a little later, in the traditional manner, but we’re making the most of it for cleaning the joint as well.

Yesterday afternoon. The artisans certainly give the impression that they know what they’re doing, which is comforting.

Spraying the coat-of-arms above the front door, as you do.

Removing the all-important satellite dish, temporarily. The ‘parabol‘ expert appeared soon after and we’re back up and running.

It should look the business after all this.

Back to the green livery at the winery a couple of hundred metres away and, don’t worry rosé fans, it’s not just the white that was bottled.

The bottles for the rosé arrived just in time.

Stacks and stacks of clear bottles for rosé and it’s handy that we used most of them, if only so our farmhouse guests can get into their holiday home next week.

Like for the majority of the white, we prefer to bottle and label most of the rosé and box it up – as long as we have an idea of where it’s heading. That’s unlike most of the red wine which is just bottled here, then stored and labelled much later after some ageing.

It’s far better if you grab the bottles with proper gloves when using screw caps – if doing so at speed, not necessarily at home – so you don’t clunk or dent the metal in any way. Well, that’s my theory.

There’s quite a risk of ‘light strike’ with clear bottles which is another reason for boxing them up once labelled as soon as possible. We’re running some tests on this.

Nelly bringing the rosé into storage. With the vines all around, the wines definitely deserve the mention of ‘Mis en bouteille au Château’ on the back label. For better or worse.

Rosé in what we hope is short term storage here, although it’s quite safe, cool and dry if we don’t sell it all quickly.

The team, along with our Daniel and Nelly, did a great job. And now the bill… over €230,000 and counting for the bottling, bottles, labels, screwcaps, corks, cartons and all manner of stuff. Over a euro a bottle. Excluding the wine, that is, which all comes from our own grapes.

After a short rest, the first batches of the new wines are off. In Dom’s temperature controlled truck – handy when it was already 23˚C in late March.

And to Switzerland.

Back to the vineyard, and time for the goats to make themselves useful.

Onwards and upwards.