From the vine to the wine
Complementing the production of our own properties, BEJOT vins & terroirs has established longstanding partnerships with vineyard owners who provide us with grapes that comply with clear specifications, closely monitored by our oenologists. Only the best grape growers and plots are selected for our wines.
When the grape is ripe and almost ready for harvesting, our oenologists visit the vineyards to make sure the fruit is picked at the right moment. The essential balance between acidity and the right levels of sugar must be perfect and the plants have to be perfectly healthy and clean.
Grapes are harvested by hand, with the greatest of care, selected by trained pickers and delicately placed in pierced cases, which are then taken quickly to be pressed, thus preserving all the features of the fruit.
The winemaking facilities are located near the vineyards. In Burgundy, we have designed and set up five winemaking rooms in Chablis, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Bévy, Meursault and Davayé. All these winemaking facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. We apply traditional winemaking methods, using ultra-modern tools: vats on several levels to facilitate the gravitational transfer of wines, careful weighing of grapes to ensure traceability, use of temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, pneumatic crushers (or pigeurs) that move above the vats, fully automated pneumatic presses, etc.
The making of red wines
The best grape bunches are carefully selected on our sorting tables and are stripped so that only the grapes are taken to the vats. Traditionally, grapes are pressed for the appellations of the Côte de Beaune while they are left intact for the fermentation of the Côte de Nuits.
All our vats have been designed to limit the handling and damaging of our grapes: once the grapes are taken off their bunches, they are taken to the fermentation vats in small tubs.
Our oenologists can then begin to apply their winemaking skills and capture the essence of the amazingly rich terroirs of Burgundy.
Our winemakers work with our ultra-modern equipment, allowing them to carefully control the temperatures, to carry out the cap punching (or pigeage) and pumping out of the vats, which are essential to increase phenolic quality (colour and structure) and to monitor the alcohol fermentation process, while ensuring that the cellars remain spotless and safe.
The amount of time for macerating the grapes varies according to the vintage and the appellations, lasting from a fortnight to a month.
Emptying the vats means separating the liquid free-run wine and the grape residues which are then pressed to produce the press wine. The free-run wine is characteristically fruity and elegantly light, while the press wine is structured and deeper in taste. The assembly of the two types of wines is the key to obtaining a subtle and complex balance between the fruitiness of the former and the strength of the latter.
These young wines are then put into French oak casks: we have a supply of 4,000 barrels in our different cellars. Choosing the casks is also a subtle process. Oenologists decide on the provenance, the technique used for firing the barrels and the percentage of new casks to be used, so that the ageing can reveal the full complexity of the grapes.
Every week, the wines are examined and tasted by the winemakers, to allow the wine to open up and blossom and to limit the need for adjustment by oenologists at the end of the process.
The making of white wines
Entire grape bunches are deposited in our pneumatic presses and are delicately and slowly squeezed to avoid oxidation of the juice.
The settling stage is crucial. The juice is left to lie at a low temperature for 24 to 48 hours to allow the solid particles which emerge during the pressing to sink to the bottom of the vat. After having settled, the wine should be clear, but should still have some fine particles left, an essential ingredient for proper fermentation.
Depending on the appellation, the grape musts ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats (Chablis, Mâcon) or in vats made of other materials, but all are selected as carefully as those used for the making of red wines. Fermentation in vats is an indispensable stage for the great Burgundy white wines to ensure that all their complexity and finesse emerges.
Fermentation is monitored for its density: as the sugar changes into alcohol, density goes down. Fermentation can take several months, in particular for the great appellations.
Ageing on the fine lees in the vats lasts between six months and a year. The wines are then put into barrels for six to 10 months, depending on the vintages, the appellations and on the evolution of the wine. This requires systematic weekly monitoring, which also determines the frequency at which the lees are mixed (batonnage), an age-old technique which involves putting the fine lees back into the wine to enable it to absorb the aromatic complexity of the grape and develop length in the finishing taste.
The racking (soutirage) of the wines is done before it is bottled, in the finest tradition of Burgundy winemaking, by using gravity to limit pumping and preserve the taste qualities of the wines.