June in the cellar16 June 2020
In 1910 in June, work in the cellar was marked by monitoring the wines and barrels and the temperatures of the premises in order to avoid any deviation from the wines.
Here is what can be read in the Wine Trade Directory : Wines – At this time of year, diseases and deterioration are to be feared for wines, more perhaps than at any other time ; this is why the work in the cellar, in June, can be summed up above all by constant surveillance, which must focus on them, on the barrel and on the premises where they are kept.
Monitor wines housed in barrels; topping up to fill up. If you notice that a wine has a woody, musty taste, becomes bitter, vented, rack it in another barrel previously sanitized. Examine the corks of bottled wines; if these wines are pricked or cloudy, pour them into barrels to process them.
The fermentations which can reach even good wines, with the first heat of the sun, will be stopped by watering the barrels or by covering them with wet straw, by nicking the wine or by racking it in well-wicked barrels; finally by using, in the most serious cases, either pasteurization or an appropriate taniferous product. Among the small preventive precautions to be taken against alterations, let us mention the renewal of the cloths which surround the bungs. These pieces of stuff must not get sour; vaseline linens are recommended. In general, manipulation should be avoided in June as much as possible, except of course in case of emergency and wine disease; for one cannot hesitate for a moment to resort to the means of recovery recommended in the event that the wines to be preserved are compromised by any beginning of any deterioration. For empty wine dishes, the wicking will be renewed, if this operation is deemed necessary; care should be taken that the woods do not dry out and do not become covered with mold.
Local – Weak wines are likely in June, even more than in May, to contract the bite. To prevent this, it cannot be over-recommended, especially when the heat begins, to store the wines in cellars of a constant and sufficiently low temperature, 10 to 12 degrees above zero should not be exceeded. Unfortunately, there are often higher figures on thermometers, which are hung in wine shops. In this case we will look for all the means to reduce the temperatures too high. We will arrive at a satisfactory result either by hermetically sealing the air vents or by establishing drafts during the night, by closing the cellars during the day, and finally by watering the roofs, if other means are not sufficient.
Nowadays, wine rooms are better equipped and more efficient in terms of thermal regulation and ventilation.
Monitoring of wines is, however, essential because in the event of a problem, action should be taken early to avoid the appearance of irreversible defects. This is especially the work of the winemaker or the cellar master. The main tools of this monitoring will be the sight of course to observe any bubble, the hearing also to try to listen to any resumption of fermentation in barrel for example and of course, predominantly, the smell and the taste, which are used during the tastings. Tasting for the oenologist, the cellar master or the winemaker is a tool for controlling the organoleptic quality of wines. It is used daily and intervenes before any decision is made in a winery.
“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.
Picture : kim ellis (unsplash)