A Winery Visit

The fermentation cellar - Creation Wines in South Africa

Where do our wines come from; what do the vineyards look like; what do the cellars look like; what does the winemaker think?  One of the great things about traveling to where the wine is made is visiting the wineries.

Sometimes at a winery, usually only by appointment, you get the chance to talk to the winemakers whilst tasting wine from tanks or barrels.  This really adds to one’s understanding of what goes on.  You appreciate how difficult it is to decide what to put in the bottle; raw wine tastes so different from the finished, blended and matured product.  You begin to understand that the process from the budding vine to your decanted pleasure is a long and complex journey. (For more details of what happens in the winery refer to our notes on the wine making process).

At the other extreme one only gets to taste the wines for a fee, dispensed by someone who knows nothing and cares less.  Perhaps a jaded reaction to hundreds of holiday makers or students with the primary aim of getting drunk.  But even here soaking up the ambiance of the area is great.

If you do not look and act like you just want to get drunk you will generally be treated much better, and often not even have to pay.  How do you do this?  The rule is that you spit out the wine.  When tasting a wine you will likely take one or two mouthfuls. If you are going to taste 20 or so wines in a day you're not going to be effective pretty soon if you don't spit.  And, the occasional, really good wine where you do swallow half a mouthful is such a treat.  You should also drink a lot of water as you dehydrate quickly.

To provide more background to you and perhaps to stimulate you to visit the winemakers please refer to our wine tour notes under Halfwine Travels where we comment on the winemakers that we have visited and their wines - we only buy what we think is good value for money.

The journey from vineyard to table

Great wines start in a great vineyard - Corton in Burgundy

Concrete fermentation tanks - Alta Vista in Mendoza, Argentina

Oak barrels for maturation - Ch le Crock in Bordeaux

Bottling line - Mortitx Winery in Mallorca

Riddling champagne and also bottle maturation - Gosset in Champagne

The restaurant table - La Cote Saint Jacques, Joigny, North of Chablis