Making the wine
Béard La Chapelle produces 100,000 bottles per year. Franck Moureau is the wine maker and runs the property with the help of two full-time workers (and their wives who work part-time in the vineyards). They have worked for the property for over 20 years. In addition, seasonal workers are employed for jobs such as the "green harvest" and for deleafing prior to harvest-time. Franck’s sister, Laurence, is in charge of the promotion of the vineyard brand and the development of international sales.
The year in the vineyard
Between mid December and mid February when the sap is in the roots of the vine, pruning takes place ; "Guyot simple" (1 branch with 7 buds). In the summer the the excess leaves of the vine are removed to give good aeration and to better expose the bunches of grapes to the sun. A "green harvest" is also carried out to ensure that there are only 7 bunches of grapes per vine. In parallel the vines are treated to protect them from disease but only when absolutely necessary. Alternative practices (such as spraying with an organic adjuvant and use of "intercep" machinery) are being trialled to ensure that Béard La Chapelle is produced as naturally as possible. Grass is grown in between the vines on alternate rows which allows any excess water to be absorbed. In addition alternate rows are cultivated to encourage microbial life and to encourage roots to delve deep.
A year in the cellar
The winery has a capacity of 2,000 hectolitres and the stainless steel vats are thermo-regulated. The equipment in the winery includes a pneumatic press for gentle pressing, a destemming machine and a sorting table. The underground ageing cellar holds 300 french oak "barriques" from five different coopers (medium toast). At the time of harvest after destemming, the grapes are sorted by hand on the sorting table. A cold soak is carried out during a period of five days at 7° before fermentation begins. The vinification is traditional with three gentle pumping overs per day and with one or two rack and returns carried out during the period of fermentation. The total time in vat is between 3 to 4 weeks. The wine is aged for 12 months, in one third new barrels, one third barrels of one "wine" and one third barrels of two "wines". The wine in barrel is racked on average four times during its ageing depending on the vintage. At the end of ageing, the different lots of the wine are blended before being fined with egg whites. The wine is bottled at the property