August in the cellar25 August 2020
“Vineyard and cellar – 1910” is a series of articles that we present to you throughout the year 2020, month by month. The articles are taken from the 1910 “Wine Trade Directory” and describe the various works necessary for the grapes and wine production at the beginning of the 20th century.
August in the cellar
In 1910 in August, the work in the cellar was marked by the preparation of the cellars for the reception of the coming harvests and the monitoring of the wines remaining in the cellar.
Here is what can be read in August in the Wine Trade Directory of 1910 :
Preparations for the harvest – The harvest usually begins at the end of August in Algeria and in the early vineyards of France, and it becomes widespread before mid-September in the southern regions. The far-sighted winegrower prepares for this important operation in advance. He rinses, brushes and cleans presses, vats, various utensils. It makes sure that the wooden vats or casks have all their staves well joined, in good condition, their solid circles.
Then he turns his attention to the inside of the containers. The best way to purge wine dishes from any foreign matter is with a jet of steam. You can also wash the vessel several times with plenty of water. Use with advantage of a pump whose lance will be directed perpendicular to the walls; we will brush all the parts with a very hard brush to detach the molds, by insisting particularly on the joints and the interstices. Scraping is often necessary, sometimes planing a few moats, to remove all traces of rot.
To get rid of lingering odors, it is sometimes necessary to resort to mixtures of boiling water with quicklime and potash, or with soda and slaked lime, or finally with soda ash. You can still use chlorine or sulfuric acid, but with great care. After these cleanings, washings and rinses with fresh water will be necessary in order to remove all traces of the chemicals used.
For masonry tanks, make sure that they are perfectly airtight. So we would do well to pour a certain amount of water in first, to see if it does not disappear into the ground. Then we will visit with the greatest care the interior coating; it must not present any solution of continuity, and not leave the stone bare. If necessary, fill the cracks with cement. As a last precaution, all the walls can be brushed with whitewash; glass vats should only be rinsed with ordinary water.
General care for wines – Wines are subject in August to various diseases. If they are in barrels, it will be possible to bring them back by the means indicated in July. Bottled wines must always be transferred to sulfur barrels and subjected to the appropriate treatments.
We will always take care to ventilate the cellars well at night to lower the temperature.
Nowadays in August
The preparation of the harvest is as important as ever. Perfect hygiene of the cellars is essential to avoid any deviation from musts and future wines. Cellar hygiene is synonymous with quality.
Also today in August (sometimes even at the end of July!), The harvest begins in southern vineyards such as the Languedoc Roussillon vineyard, the Provençal vineyard and in the south of the Rhône valley. In the other vineyards it is a quieter period before the harvest storm in September.