“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.

April in the cellar

In 1910 in April, the work in the cellar was marked by surveillance and shipments of wines.

HERE IS WHAT CAN BE READ IN APRIL IN THE WINE TRADE DIRECTORY FROM 1910 :

Wine surveillance – From spring, wine must be prepared, whatever its nature and its situation, to get through the critical heat season . It is therefore this concern that should dominate in the winemaker: the future of liquid is at stake. The withdrawals which should have been delayed will be carried out with the greatest speed. As a result of the seasonal change in wines, it is urgent during the month of April to monitor all the products in the cellar, whether housed in casks or in bottles. Avoid shaking them, shaking them. Containers will be wetted, if necessary.

For those in barrels or in closed vats, we will examine if they are in good conditions to spend the summer. Diseases that often start at this time should be prevented or stopped right away, such as shoots, acescence, etc. We would do well to keep the casks full, to close them properly and to immediately proceed to the treatments required by each of the wines affected, even weakly, by any degeneration. If a barrel begins to communicate a bad smell to its contents, it should immediately be racked in a healthy barrel and try to make the taste found in the wine disappear. As for bottled wines, without stirring them, we will make sure that they are not disturbed, that the corks are in good condition and that their conservation is in no way compromised. If there are fears after examining several bottles, taken in different places, do not hesitate to put the wine back in barrels, and to submit it to the treatment it requires. Sometimes a simple transfer is enough to restore a compromised liquid.

Wine Expeditions – In April, the expeditions are fairly followed. It is important that for this purpose the wines are housed in very healthy barrels, having no smell of rotten, musty, woody or other. For bourgeois customers, we generally send the wine all stuck * and racked. It travels in this way and it is recommended that the customer, when he has received it, let it rest before bottling it, if he intends to submit it to this last operation (remember that we are then in 1910). When shipping unglued, the buyer must be notified so that he does not forget to glue himself. In any case, use the best clarifiers.

* The fining of the wines allows the clarification of the wine and / or the microbiological stabilization of it.

The use of sulfur wick is often necessary at this time, especially for white wines. Do not burn too long so as not to exceed the tolerated dose of 350 milligrams of sulfurous acid per liter; avoid dropping a bit of wick in the barrels. ”

Wine shipments were made in barrels at the beginning of the 20th century. The barrel was also used to transport other goods. This represented 2,500,000 tons produced per year in 228L tons equivalent. By way of comparison, in 2018, French production, all species combined, was 669,669 barrels (source: Fédération des Tonneliers de France).

NOWADAYS IN APRIL

Wine is shipped in bulk tanks or in bottles.