* Another wonderful staff blog from our General Manager Leah, who just returned home from a whirlwind trip through France where she had the incredible opportunity to work the harvest at Dujac!
I just had my first vacation in almost three years, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait! I traveled to France, and over the course of two weeks trekked most of the way across the country. I traveled with my good friend, fellow wine geek and Lynch Gruppo alum, Kevyn. We started and ended in Paris and drove to Champagne, Burgundy and Provence in between. There is entirely way to much to bore you with about my trip, so I am going to keep it to one day in Burgundy.
One of our friends from Boston works as the family chef for the Seysses family during harvest. The Seysses’ are the family behind Domaine Dujac in Morey-Saint-Denis. They were kind enough to welcome us into their home during this, the most important time for them: Harvest. We knew we had been welcomed as guests for our 4.5 day stay in Burgundy, but we had no idea the amazing adventure we were in for.
The Wednesday we arrived, we headed in to have lunch with the family and the small main crew for the upcoming harvest. The crew consisted of the Seysses sons, Jeremy and Alec; Raúl Moreno Yagüe (AIWS and Chief of Contributions at Alquimie); and Carlo Mondavi and his wife Megan (Carlo recently launched his own wine with his brother called Raen). This lunch is also when they informed us that we were invited to participate in the first day of harvest on Friday morning. WHAT?!?!?! Were they serious?
As you know from Yoko’s blog last week, harvest is a special time for winemakers. It is the moment where all hands involved gather together to pick by hand the literal fruits of their labor. There is a level of anticipation you cannot explain fully. After two days of delicious meals, amazing wine (a 1967 Sauternes to name one), cellar tours, day trips to Beaune, and hikes up the Côte d’Or with Ella (the greatest French dog there is), it was finally the morning of harvest.
We gathered in the courtyard at 7am to pile into trucks that would take us down to Puligny-Montrachet. We were harvesting the Les Folatières vineyard. For those who do not know what that means, I got to pick what would become some seriously delicious Chardonnay!
After finishing our rows (and of course being the slowest ones out there) we were called in to have the morning snack which consisted of probably the best sandwiches I have ever had in my life. Maybe it was because I was out in the middle of Burgundy, clipping Chardonnay, in the glorious sun. Or maybe it really was just the best sandwich ever. But really, these ham and butter and camembert and butter sandwiches were amazing.
After a day of long, backbreaking work, we headed back to watch the process of winemaking begin. The operation is small and not too many hands are involved in the actual winemaking.
Getting the opportunity to witness this process was like Dorothy peeking at the man behind the curtain, only I was not disappointed by what I saw! As Kevyn describes, it it was like we were a part of the party planning process. When you open a bottle here in America you get to go to that party. Not everyone gets to be involved in the planning of that party. The artistry that goes into making a bottle of wine is inspiring.
It was a privilege and a once in a lifetime experience. Until next time, Burgundy!