At the vineyard
The 9 hectares of vines are close together. All our vines are at the same level as the Château. Our vineyard is mostly planted with Merlot but we also have Cabernet Sauvignon. These are the two grape-varieties mainly used for the production of the red wines in the region. We have sevral rows of Sauvignon and Semillon for the white wines.
On the rythm of the seasons, we take care of our vines and their environment. Our passion guideseach of our actions with the only aim : get the best from our vins.
The pruning is a very important point for the quality of the next harvest. The winegrower has to adapt the pruning to each vine. The choice of the wood and the number of buds is primary for the Survival of the vine but also for the grapes maturity. If we let too many buds on the vine, it will produce too many grapes which will hardly mature. On the other side, if we reduce the quantity of buds, it will cause an excess of vigor to the detriment of the grapes quality.
Since the creation of Château Venus, we plow the soils traditionally. We cover twice per year the base of the vine with soil and we take it off also twice per year. It means that we kill the bad weeds mecanicly and we exhort the vine to make roots which will go deep into the ground to search for nutrients.
The vegetation cover
Vegetation cover is done every year in our vines. We use green manue to improve our soils. All the species sown in autumn have several aims.
to improve the structure of the soil
to avoid the erosion permitting the water to infiltrate
to bring organic material
to improve the fertilization of the soils, to fix nitrogen (for example the nitrates) to give it back to the vines
to capture the carbon from the air and limit greenhouse gases
to improve the biodiversity in the vineyard
We use legumes like clover or vetch and grasses like rye and oat in order to help our vines to grow, to keep the quality of our soils and to take care of the environment.
The green works
During spring and summer, several hand-works are important for the growth of the vines but also for the maturation of the grapes. When the vines begin to grow, we make the disbudding. For the winegrower, the disbudding consist of removing some buds to avoid the accumulation of grapes. It is a manner of limitating the quantity of grapes per vine.
Then, we make two suckerings at different steps of the vines growth. This work allows to remove the unwanted shoots which would affect the maturation and the quality of the grapes.
We make also two liftings in order the vine grows vertically. The aim is to allow the vine to get more sun for a better photosynthesis. It is the Energy created by the photosynthesis that will help the grapes to mature. The second aim is to limit the accumulation of leaves and to aerate the grapes to avoid the rot.
The leaf thinning allows the sun to shine on the grapes and to aerate them.
The harvest period
In Château Vénus, we work with tradition and modernity. We do the picking by hand for some of our wines and by machine for others. As we are a small property, it is difficult for us to find pickers only for few hours or few days. The evolution of technologies and picking machines (equiped with distemmer and selection of berries) help for the quality of the work done and it is hard today to distinguish the two types of picking.
In the cellar
We do two different vinifications for our red wines Château Venus and Apollon
Château Vénus :
As the grapes are picked, we put them directly into thermo regulated Stainless still tanks. The yeasts responsible of the alcoolic fermentation, which transform the sugar in alcool, are sensitive to high temperatures. To ensure the good progression of the fermentation, we precisely control the temperatue and the density of the wine (quantity of sugar still present).
Every day, we taste the wines to decide the work to do. Then, we can decide the quantity and the duration of pumping-overs. We take the juice from the bottom of the tank to spray the marc cap which contains skins and pips. The aim is to extract the color and the aromas.
When the alcoolic fermentation is done, we stabilize the temperature and we keep into the tank.
The grapes picked go directly into 400 litres barrels. We do integrale vinification. We ferment the grapes into barrels. We do cap-punching by hand several times a day to extract slowly the aromas and colors.
The duration of the ageing depends on the wines. The Château Venus is aged during 12 months in barrels and in tank in order to keep the fruit and to give enough structure for the balance. Apollon is aged in barrels during 18 months. It is a wine you can keep more than 20 years if you want.
We work with 6 different coopers. Each barrel gives a particularity in the final blending. We renew the barrels every year from 20% to 25%.
The blending is a really important work. We have to associate the different batches perfectly before bottling. You will find in our red blendings mainly Merlot which gives this nice fruit, typical of our vines and Cabernet Sauvignon, for the structure and balance. In our white blendings, the Sauvignon will give freshness and acidity and the Semillon, the structure of the mouth.
All our production is bottled at the Château. We have our own bottling machine so it is easy for us to choose the best moment to bottle the wine. We take care of the choice of our bottles and corks. We control also the level of the wine in the bottles. These are elements really important for the storage of the wine. Our aim is that you enjoy our wines at their good value.