2014 Harvest with S.Vincenti: “For Grenache, using stems makes little less alcoholic wines but also less colorful”


Sébastien Vincenti, who owns Domaine de Fondrèche, makes “Identi-Terrae” wines in southern Rhone Valley, in the heart of Ventoux. Today he takes part to our “summer series” on www.vitabella.fr where great names give every day their opinion on a familiar topic that comes to mind before every new harvest: To de-stem or not to de-stem?

What is your position at your wine estate: To de-stem or not to de-stem?
Sébastien Vincenti: “Today we almost de-stem 100% of the harvest. Over the past twenty years, we de-stemed a little more each year to achieve this result.

In your own experience, what are the positive and negative aspects of including the stems?
Sébastien Vincenti: “For us, the stems have no benefits… If it is ripe – it could be with Grenache, but it is more difficult with Syrah and Mourvèdre- it does not cause an trouble. For Grenache, using stems makes little less alcoholic wines but also less colorful. The tools used to remove the stems have really progressed and it is one of the important points. If you’re not able to remove the stems correctly, it is better to keep them and if so, you mustn’t grind them. Keeping stems makes the work of extraction more complicated as what you extract from a stem never goes away, it stays constantly. You can consider to structure a grape variety or a vintage with poor tannins with the stems, but then it could be difficult to find balance in your wine at the end.

USA, Australia, France … Throughout the world, more and more wine estates are testing the work with whole bunches (or, in any case, include a certain percentage of stems): Do you think this can be one of the next trends in the world of wine?
Sébastien Vincenti: “The “whole bunches” approach shows the real advantage of the stems: it makes wines with more fruit but beware, it does not make necessarily softer wines. In fact, the ideal approach would be the “whole bunches” system but without the stems !

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