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How to make a barrique

Date: Tue, Jun 2, 2009 Winery Blogs

Here's a good, speedy introduction to the fantastic art of barrel-making. Bear in mind that they're over 700 euros each and only take 225 litres when you swig that next glass of oak-aged red. Though beware, if the wine label says 'oaked' that could mean the winemaker has just dipped a large teabag full of oak chips in it. Another thing entirely.

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'Tis the season to be filthy, tra la la la lah, la la la lah

Date: Mon, May 25, 2009 Winery Blogs

Warm weather + humidity after the spring rains = danger in the vineyards. Danger of grey or white mildew - and a host of other irritations that threaten our hail-enfeebled vines. So, that means we have to spray them. All. Individually. Each fortnight. And there are six thousand inconveniently placed on a hillside, so we can't use a tractor. Enter Ali (and me too, but I take more photographs).

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More machinery

Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2009 Winery Blogs

After what seems like weeks of hopeless weather, sun each morning, rain each afternoon, the forecast is now good. Lots of sunshine for weeks on end. However, the soil is very humid, the air is warm and our young vines are bursting forth - leaves everywhere. This is one of the busiest times in the year in the vineyard.

With the combination of damp and warm the vines are at high risk from oidium and mildew. We treat the vines against these diseases each fortnight until mid-July. Last year [...]

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Souches and spuds, cores and tips

Date: Fri, Apr 17, 2009 Winery Blogs

Well, the vineyard survived the second onslaught of hail yesterday. The tender buds are still intact and the nascent grapes and apples get another chance at life. What a relief.

We met our lovely new friends, Deborah and Peter Core up at Chateau Malaudos today for a spot of lunch. They make beautiful biodynamic wine in Caux at their vineyard, Mas Gabriel . This year they made their first white and rose wines, both of which are absolute crackers - we ca [...]

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Hearts in Mouths

Date: Wed, Apr 15, 2009 Winery Blogs

Ali here.

We had a pretty full day planned today. Poppy was turning up to do maths revision with Lizzie at 10; I was shopping for dinner tonight - a family affair with all the Goslings, Chris (volunteer extraordinaire) and her dad Stan and the lovely, lovely Sally and Paul Wheeldon - Sal, who you might have spotted on a previous blog as The Cake Queen surrounded by greedy, cake-loving Labradors. Oh, and a trip with Maria Picano, our neighbour, to visit h [...]

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How it looked today

Date: Tue, Mar 31, 2009 Winery Blogs

Today was gloomy - not much in the way of sun, but I thought our volunteers might like to see how it's coming on. The figs are just appearing, the pear trees are loaded with tiny pears, the apples are in flower, the vines are bursting - particularly the whites and the potager is full of cabbages, broccoli and lettuce.

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Olives in a Languedoc Vineyard

Date: Thu, Mar 19, 2009 Winery Blogs


I got back from Australia last week where I've been visiting my family. If there's one thing that Lizzie is really good at (and there are many, many things she's ridiculously good at) it's organizing surprises. There were two big ones waiting when I got home. The first one was the bridge. For anyone who knows us, this bridge has been in the "it's just about to be started" phase of construction for the last 4 years. But finally, [...]

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Vineyard Sassoon

Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 Winery Blogs


I last had my haircut before Christmas. It's now March and I've looked like a mad woman for weeks. Ali was desperate to lose her 'I'm wearing a nest' look too, so we called our pal and hairdresser to see if she could fit us in. 'You're working in the vineyard today? No problem, we'll do it there. How about 4 o-clock this afternoon?' So she came, complete with haircl [...]

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An arresting fig

Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 Winery Blogs

This evening's blog comes from Karen & Michelle our London fig-rescuers.

Our Thursday briefing from Lizzie at Chateau Mal au Dos pointed us towards a distant thicket. There's a lovely fig tree waiting to be released from there says she.


We gathered our favourite tools and plodded towards the edge of the amphitheatre. Confronted with the brambles and huge swa [...]

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Wind, wind, Wind

Date: Mon, Feb 16, 2009 Winery Blogs

Alistair from Brighton is today's contributor to the Chateau Malaudos blog

Today, Tuesday, started windy and got more windy as the day went on. The weather brought out the wise planning of M. Gineste. Down around the house, the air was still and, when the sun came out, pleasantly warm; up on the ridge hats were pulled down against the cold and eyes streamed in the wind. Each job came with its own unique weather conditions.

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Whoops!

Date: Sun, Feb 15, 2009 Winery Blogs

Today's blog is contributed by Rob

Well it's the end of my first day of “Volunteers Week” and I'm just sitting down for a well earned cup of tea. It was lovely to see Ali & Lizzie, seems like I had never been away. We made our way to the vineyard and no sooner had we had arrived, we were on our way back to Le Couvent for food - just what I needed.

The afternoon saw us [...]

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Whoops!

Date: Sun, Feb 15, 2009 Winery Blogs

Today's blog is contributed by Rob

Well it's the end of my first day of “Volunteers Week” and I'm just sitting down for a well earned cup of tea. It was lovely to see Ali & Lizzie, seems like I had never been away. We made our way to the vineyard and no sooner had we had arrived, we were on our way back to Le Couvent for food - just what I needed.

The afternoon saw us [...]

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Postcard from the Potager

Date: Thu, Feb 12, 2009 Winery Blogs

Today's blog is written by Jane and Paula

This was our final day in the vineyard working in the potager and there were blue skies as usual. A gentle breeze kept us, Marianne, Jane and Paula, cool. Walking up to the mazet the almond blossom was beautiful against the blue sky and it is hard to believe it is only February!!



Our job was to clear the beds and prepare them for planting. There are p [...]

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A note from Doug & Caroline

Date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 Winery Blogs

Wednesday 11th February is our rest day after two days working with a great team of people at Chateau Mal Au Dos, the soon to become world famous vineyards of the South of France.

Monday started with many journeys to the local tip to clear the piles of garden waste gathered by the team over the weekend. Next it was up to the Chateau Mal Au Dos for the first time this visit, armed with an assortment of gardening equipment ready for any task that was assigned. Our first task was to stri [...]

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