The 2014 Harvest with Loulou Mitjavile: “We are destemming in any vintage”


Loulou Mitjavile does an admirable job on the 14 hectares of Domaine de l’Aurage in the Côtes de Castillon, in the continuity of what the family has always done at Tertre Roteboeuf and Roc de Cambes. He starts our “summer series” on where great names will 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?
Loulou Mitjavile “We are destemming in any vintage! Our grapes already contain enough tannins (especially from seeds) so there is no need to have more. I do not look for carbonic maceration, which is very useful with grape varieties such as Gamay but not with ours.

In your own experience, what are the positive and negative aspects of including the stems?
Loulou Mitjavile “With Merlot, I nearly see only negative aspects. The only good point would be that you do not need destem equipments that could damage the grapes.

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?
Loulou Mitjavile: “New trends are not always fundamental trends…For years, winemakers have harvested too early and now the same ones are harvesting too late today. Concrete tanks were destroyed 30 years ago and replaced by stainless steel tanks which are now replaced by … concrete tanks. People are following the trends! We are fortunate to have efficient and innovative institutes such as INRA, Bordeaux university, the Chamber of Agriculture which are a valuable source of information for winemakers. Let’s follow them and not trends!

(Write to VitaBella