The harvest



They begin approximately a hundred day after the flower. This period can be spread out from the end of August to the beginning of October.

  • The picking
  • The vintagers

    The picking is done manually so as not to damage or color the grains accidentally.
    The harvest is done at the height of maturity of the grape and requires an important team of pickers.
    The pickers enter the vineyard two by two on both sides of the row. They clip off the grapes after separating them from the leaves and collect them in small buckets. The buckets are then emptied into plastic trays left at different intervals in the rows.

    The cutting

    The trays can contain up to 50 Kg of grape. Air holes are drilled into them to prevent asphyxiation, the heating of the fruits and to favor the evacuation of possible rainwater.
    Once filled the trays are taken very carefully to the press where the grapes are received, weighted and entrusted to the press personnel.

  • The press
  • Load of the press

    The grape is pressed immediately, vine by vine and vintage by vintage. We do not use the maceration process.
    The trays are manually emptied in the press until it reaches a load of 8000 Kg.
    The grapes must be poured intact in the press therefore their fall into the press is made at a low height.

    The press closing

    The pressuring begins, it must be slow, soft and progressive in such a way that the pigments of the black grapes skin do not colour the juice. The process consists of slowly inflating a balloon inside the press which in turn is going to extract the juice by pressuring the grapes until they burst. This process lasts approximately 4 hours.
    The point sought after during the pressuring process is to make the grapes burst rather than to crush them and release a crystal clear liquid juice.

  • Juices
  • Flow of the juice

    The juice is collected from the press and poured into a cuve called a "Belon".
    The first fraction of the juice is made of the highest quality called "cuvee". For 8000 Kg of grapes, the cuvee obtained is 4000 litres, the remaining, called "taille", is 1010 litres. The cuvee is set apart from the taille.

    La cuvée

    Once the pressuring process starts the debit of drainage into the belon is very high, the surface of the liquid is covered with bubbly foam.

  • Exiting the press.
  • Cleaning of the cases Tanks of storage

    During the pressuring process the staffs of the press insures the reception of the trays which will serve for the following vintage and clean the empty trays left from the previous batch. This cleaning process is automated.
    When the pressuring process of the vintage is ended, the juice is stored in big rustproof steel tubs, and the belon is cleaned. The contents of the tubs will quickly go to the cellars and go through the final step of wine making.
    The residues contained in the press, called the "raffles" and the "aignes", are evacuated by tractor to other processing centres such as distilleries.
    There is nothing left but to begin this process all over again.

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    Copyright Champagnes Thierry Lesne 2006 - Legal mentions -  Réalisation et design: Arkha.