January photo journal

January photo journal

Posted by Gavin Quinney on 31st Jan 2024

We hope you’ve had a peaceful and healthy start to the year and all good wishes for 2024.

Our 2023 whites and rosés have just been blended in the winery and they’ll be bottled at the end of February. They won’t be released until the spring and we still have a few cases left of the current vintages to see us through until then.

Here are some vineyard images from this month – all the photos are from this January except the mugshot from the 2023 harvest.

All the best

Gavin & Angela Quinney

After a decidedly mixed month of weather, yesterday saw the return of deep blue winter skies and the glorious sight and sounds of the migrating cranes – or grues as we know them here – flying overhead as they head up north.

The photo of the high flying grues doesn’t do them justice.

Inside, we’re just finishing off the designs of our labels for the new vintage. The bottles are already in place.

We’ve stuck a ’25 harvests’ stamp on all the 2023 front labels. This is our classic Sauvignon Blanc.

Likewise on the Rick Stein signature labels, which includes the rosé. The stamp says ‘Gavin, Angela and team – 25 Château Bauduc harvests’ as we moved here in time for the 1999 harvest.

Back in September 1999, we brought the grapes in with Daniel, our vineyard manager, and Nelly, who we took on as a trainee soon after we arrived in late August.

The start of our 25th harvest in late August, 2023.

2024 will in fact be our 25th full vintage at the helm and the season has already begun, with Nelly, Daniel and others out pruning.

This is a parcel of Sauvignon Blanc that we planted in 2004.

The electric secateurs have come on a long way since then, not least with smaller, rechargeable batteries that don’t weigh you down anything like as much as before.

Pruning is a skilled and dangerous task. Removing the discarded branches may require less skill but it’s arduous and risky. Our man René is one of several who’ll be performing the tirage des bois through to March.

The sarments, or vine trimmings, from the old Cabernet Sauvignon vines are the best for using as barbecue fuel, or as kindling for the fires, so they’re kept in neat bundles for tying up later on.

Most of the other off-cuts, like in this block of young Cabernet Franc that we planted in 2015, are left in the middle of the rows.

They’ll be mulched using the tractor-driven kit.

That’s assuming the rows can be navigated easily enough. We’ll have to avoid this sanglier spa – a mud bath sculpted out of a damp patch by wild boar. The image on the right is less exotic but it’s what the wild boar do when they’re using their snouts and tusks when rootling around for food.

More welcome and slightly cuddlier is the local herd of chèvres, run by Jean-Pierre. (No really, some of them like physical contact.)

They have a voracious appetite for vegetation so you can’t leave them to their own devices for too long near the vines. At least not during the growing season.

I couldn’t adequately capture the quizzical look on some of their faces as they confronted the humans pruning the merlot.

But they’re lovely to be around. And the cheese is delicious.

On safer ground, away from the vines and the pruning team’s picnic.

There’s another beast seen more commonly in the vines. #paviethedog

Though to be fair these days it’s the sky that can often be more captivating.

Coupled with the light, of course.

We’ve had our chilly moments this month.

Snow can be quite rare these days. Nothing wrong with a wintry frost for the vines – quite the opposite – just not after the vines start bursting out in April please.

I’ve got a useful obsession with keeping our birdie balls stocked up.

The tame creatures around here enjoy finding unusual habitats. (Yes, that’s a boat of oysters, the boat having been kindly presented by our local ostréiculteur.)

The oysters were from the beginning of the month when our four twentysomething children were here, along with Angela’s father, David. It was a lovely fortnight, which already seems a while ago, and we won’t see our youngest, Tom, until June when he returns from Uni in Montreal, Canada.

Georgie and Bugs, both of whom celebrated their birthdays in January, live and work in London so we’ll see more of them in the coming months with any luck: I took the photo below of Georgie with her much loved Russo at her flat in north London last Sunday.

Sophie, standing next to Georgie on the right, holds the fort with us here.

Onwards and upwards.