All the wines produced at Vignoble Alain Robert are made with our own grapes - we don't buy any grapes from other wineries. This allows us to be member of a national organisation called 'Vignerons indépendants' (independent winegrowers), which implies we master the whole winemaking process, from grape-growing to bottling, as well as the selling of the wine.
Until 2009, most of the grapes were harvested by hand at our winery. That year, we switched to other methods - machine harvest - but today we still hand-harvest about 1/3 of our grapes. For some of our wines, we require the healthiest grapes as possible, which is why resort to hand harvest, which is a method generally more respectful of the grapes.
Roger Van Dyke, who came to visit in September 2017, brought his drone with him and had the opportunity to film the hand-picking process, as well as the beautiful vineyard landscapes around our winery in Chançay. I'll let you enjoy, before offering to join us for one day during the autumn to experience hand-harvest yourself!
Discover this yearly activity by spending a few hours picking grapes with other visitors and the winegrower's family.
Programme of the day: coffee will be waiting for you at the winery before we take you to the vineyard.
There, you will discover how the grapes are harvested by machine.
Then off you go, with a bucket and a pair of pruning shears we'll lend you, cutting the beautiful Chenin Blanc grapes in a lovely lanscape.
You'll see the grapes you've picked arrive at the winery and be put in the press machine.
We'll finish with a tour of our cellar in the rock, to taste grape juice and musts from the tanks, before lunch made with regional food products is served with the wines produced by the estate.
Based on our experience from previous years, the day starts around 9am and finishes around 4:30pm.
Experience a local tradition!
A couple of weeks after the beginning of the harvest, local people enjoy drinking new wine with chestnuts roasted in the fireplace.
This new wine is not really wine yet - it is in fact fermenting grape juice that contains approximately 5% alcohol.
Come and spend an evening visiting our winery and our rock-hewn cellar and taste by the fireplace the wines produced by Vignoble Alain Robert with local food, new wine and roasted chestnuts.
Pruning is the vinegrower's main work during the winter. The pruning season starts after all the leaves have fallen, generally at the end of November, and
finishes in early-April at the latest.
Pruning consists in cutting the dry branches that were produced earlier during the year. Leaving a precise number of eyes (that will develop into a bud and then a branch carrying grapes) will help control the yield the year after.
A good pruner is able to prune one vinestock per minute. As 6,000 vinestocks have to be planted per hectare in Vouvray, it means 100 hours of work per hectare.
Come and spend a few hours in the vineyard to learn how to prune a vinestock. The technique will be shown to you by the vinegrower himself.