Monday, February 16, 2009


I’ve spent the day racking the 2007 Passetoutgrains, to get it ready for bottling next month. I’ve written about racking before (here) so I won’t repeat myself, but I did want share a few photos of the ingenious lève-fût (barrel lift) that I use to recover the last few litres of clear wine, once the barrel is almost empty.
Hopefully the photos make the principle clear – turning the ratchet handle pulls the hook attached to the rear of the barrel. That pulling force is reacted by the ‘legs’ that push down on the front of the barrel and a horizontal arm that pushes against the wall. The net result is that the rear of barrel very slowly lifts and wine starts to flow from the spigot. The barrel is tipped further until the wine starts to run very slightly cloudy at which point the spigot tap is closed and the few litres of cloudy liquid left in the barrel are sent to the distillery.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

15 minutes of fame

I haven’t seen it yet, so 15 minutes might be an exaggeration, but at 9pm on Monday February 16th BBC4 will be showing the first episode of a new three-part documentary series about wine.

The first episode, entitled “Wine: The Firm”, focuses on Berry Bros. & Rudd, London’s oldest and arguably most famous wine merchant. Since Berrys also happen to be the exclusive UK importer of Domaine David Clark wines I understand I will be making my TV debut. (Actually the back of my head has been on ITV many times during stressful moments on the WilliamsF1’ pit wall, but I don’t think that counts.)

“Wine: The Firm” has been getting excellent reviews in the press, and if I owned a television I would definitely be watching!