Fortunately the weather is good here: sunny but not very hot – the maximum temperature yesterday was just over 20˚C and the nights are decidedly fresh. Here and elsewhere in the Loire it seems a lot drier than during August – the grass is less green and the ground in the vineyards is dry and dusty.
“We started picking yesterday,” says Jérôme. “We checked the grapes on Monday a week ago (15 September) but they weren’t properly ripe ¬ only 9˚ alc but 8.2 acidity. Now we have 10.5˚-11˚ depending upon the parcel and 5.7 acidity. Waiting a week was very stressful as most of the producers around here were picking. 80% of all Muscadet has now been picked.” Assuming that their neighbours’ grapes were similarly barely ripe, it will be a good year for the bettravistes – sugar beet farmers of northern France. However, the high levels of acidity will be a problem.
At Luneau-Papin they are finishing the hand picking – yesterday was the last day – and the rest of the grapes will be picked by machine. Pierre Luneau was very relaxed yesterday – his main concern appears to be trying to get his new mobile phone to work properly.
Someone has to work: Pierre-Marie Luneau checks the harvest
Pierre Luneau admiring grapes destined for Excelsior
Monique Luneau: la vendangeuse en chef
(25 September 2008)