Chocolate Industry

The Grand Vol de Raisin de Champagne

Worried about missing essential wines this week? Help is at hand.

The biggest novelty in wine this week was, of course, the appearance at Napa of Just the Tipsy wine in penis-shaped bottles, which is basically the logical (and more elegant) conclusion of wineries. putting their production in ever heavier bottles.

Wine journalists rarely need an excuse to walk around this kind of story, so this correspondent will leave it to others to seize it with double meanings.

Of course, Croatia’s attempt to push for legal protection for its Prošek sweet and white wines (in the face of Italian opposition from its sparkling white Prosecco producers) has taken another step forward, lawmakers agreeing to hear their submission, but here are some of the stories you might have missed:

Two hectares of stolen Champagne grapes

Believe it or not, this is a classic movement. It also takes a few “balls”, as the French would say, to secretly harvest 80 ares (two acres) of Champagne grapes under the nose of a local winemaker – and a veteran of the French army.

But that’s what happened to Morgan Moutaud, 34, this week at Mesnil-le Huttier, 15 km west of Epernay, in the Marne Valley sub-region in Champagne. Moutaud says the thieves took off with about 70 percent of his production. But he is not alone.

“We are several winegrowers in this situation,” Moutaud told the Union regional news channel. “We walk around at night and try to organize – as best we can – to avoid this theft.”

This is not, however, an isolated incident in Champagne. It looks like the region is in good shape with the theft of grapes occurring in the tough years.

“It’s a classic move,” Ay producer René Goutorbe told French newspaper Capital in 2019, “especially in low-yielding vintages. You often hear that someone has had 400 kg. [of grapes] stolen from their vines. “

The 2021 season has been difficult in France and Champagne has not been spared. Spring frosts earlier this year and the appearance of late blight in vineyards during the season could account for a reduction in yield of about 50 percent in some areas, according to recent reports.

Recent rains will likely have had an additional detrimental effect (in parts of southern France and Languedoc, midweek rains ruined entire blocks) and it is possible that fruit theft is not limited to the Champagne.

First agrovoltaic wine in the world in the south of France

The first commercial cuvée from a pioneering vineyard using automated sunscreens started this week in the south of the Pyrénées-Orientales department. The domain of Nidolères, in Tresserre, in the regions of Rivesaltes and Côtes du Roussillon has been, since 2009, a test bed for the shading of the vines by solar panels but it was not until 2019 that the domain installed an automated louver system programmed to shade the vines when they were deemed to have had enough sun.

In broad collaboration with, among others, Sun’R (specialist in solar energy and its agricultural applications, known as “agrovoltaic”), INRA, national researcher in vineyards and the Chamber of Agriculture of the Pyrenees, the project would protect leaves and grapes from sunburn, slows down ripening (and the over-accumulation of sugars in grapes), retains acidity and reduces evapotranspiration (effective reduction of irrigation requirements).

At night, the panels, which each have their own motor, can be placed parallel to the ground to reduce heat loss while, day or night, the panels can be adjusted to deflect wind or rain, potentially reducing heat loss. disease pressure. Although they are subjected to a pre-programmed algorithm, the panels are controlled from the Sun’R headquarters in Lyon.

The panels themselves sit a few feet above a five-hectare (12-acre) block in the estate (an adjacent 2.5 hectare / six additional acre control site) which in total covers approximately 50 hectares (120 acres). The panels are high enough to allow the mechanical harvest, which began in the middle of the week and brought Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Marselan.

“Today, sunburn destroys a whole bunch of trace elements in the grape and decreases the acidity of the fruit,” Domaine owner Pierre Escudié told the regional newspaper Actu-Perpignan. “In 20 years, I don’t know how many vines there will be in the department. The yields are lower and lower because of global warming … If we want to maintain a Mediterranean culture with our grape varieties, we will have to take measures like this one. “

No news at the moment on the availability of the wine to come – probably a Table Wine. Although not the first agrovoltaic system in agriculture – Japan is a world leader – it is the first known vineyard to use the system.

Wine bar produces video game wine

In another world first, the Argentinian creative agency The Juju and the Buenos Aires wine bar Anfibio Vineria have collaborated to bring the first wine created in a video game to life. Indeed, the Watcher may have spotted a bottle of wine in the famous Call of Duty video game franchise – specifically the Piccadilly multiplayer map in the controversial Call of Duty: Mondern Warfare 2019 game (often abbreviated as “MW” , by the way).

The wine in question is the fictitious Bodega Dominio Reserva of the Familia Malbec de Mendoza, on sale in the wine merchant Cork & Glass. And in a curious case of life imitating (gaming) art, Anfibio Vineria and The Juju have teamed up to research and label an imitation bottle, now on sale in Argentina’s capital.

“So that the whole world can experience the taste of a real Argentinian Malbec,” says a slogan on the promotional short.

Bordeaux has a dedicated canned wine factory

Not a milk-based laxative, but iconic French canned chocolate drink brand Cacolac announced it was losing 5 million euros (US $ 5.8 million) for the expansion of its canning factory in Léognan, in the southern suburbs of Bordeaux, to host an expansion of its canned wine program.

The company, which has been making its chocolate and canned milk-based drink since the 1950s, began canning wine in 2011. With the growth of its “In Can We Trust” wine division, the company invested the 5 million euros ($ 5.86 million) in a new building of 2000 square meters, which will allow the expansion in the category of hard salts and will bring the production up to 9 million cans of salt and of wine per year.

According to the packaging industry publication Packaging magazine, the new facility will allow production of a wider range of packaging options and formats, and is expected to be live by the end of 2022.