Back to the Website

Elaboration of our champagne
The Doyard-Mahé Winery

Regional representatives of the Association Viticole Champenoise define the ideal time for starting the grape harvest; they rely on a series of samples of selected plots. The harvest period takes about 3 weeks. That has to do with the limited time during which the grapes are perfectly ripe. The different grape varieties in the Champagne region are harvested around the same time. Each ‘vendange’ differs from the previous one: ripeness of the grapes, the acidity and the alcohol will be different. Harvesting is completely manually; the grapes must remain undamaged during picking. They should be sent undamaged to the wine presses too, in boxes that are specially made to prevent the skins being in contact with the grape juice. The return of a vintage is regulated: the standard production is 10 400 kg / ha, but each year the ‘Institut National des Appellations d'Origine’ can determine the return to be higher or lower, depending on the quality and volume of the harvest. This yield restriction is complemented by a limitation on the amount of juice that can be squeezed: 2550 litres of juice on 4000 kilos of grapes (4000 is the volume to be put in a traditional grape press). The yield per hectare is about 66 hectolitres. As soon as the grapes reach the presses, they are weighed and recorded in a register. That way one can identify them by date and time of picking. They are pressed per lot (depending on the size of the wine press) which allows figuring out where they come from. A check on the minimum alcohol degree is also part of the work to be carried out. During pressing, the juice is separated: the first 20.5 hl forms the 'cuvée‘, the subsequent 5 hl is called the "taille”. The cuvée produces wines with great finesse, with subtle aromas and a good taste; these wines also age better. The grape juice is collected in tanks, called 'cuves de débourbage' where it is purified. At this point the first fermentation of the grape juice will start, in order to obtain a fruity and aromatic wine. After 12 to 24 hours, the juice is transferred to a room with stainless steel wine vats. Here, the first steps of the Vinification will take place .