A Year in Burgundy (2013) Movie Script

Where does really great wine come from?
From the heart and the mind of those
who create it.
The finest winemakers are artists
and what they do is unique.
This is a gala wine-tasting in San Francisco.
Some of the best winemakers in the world are here.
Martine Saunier organizes this annual event.
She has spent most of her life
in the world of wine
in France, in the United States,
and around the world.
Martine only imports wine from
people she knows personally.
In some cases,
she's known these family winemakers
for five generations.
Star of the show are the Burgundies.
Tasting them are sommeliers, chefs,
owners of the best restaurants and wine stores
from across the western United States.
They're deciding what to buy this year,
and it's tough.
Some Burgundies are so rare,
they sell for over a thousand dollars,
and that's the wholesale price.
But why is one bottle of wine
so much more special than another?
It depends on the uniqueness of the taste
a perfect balance of nature-the terroir-
and human artistry.
To understand why Burgundy
may be the most special wine region on Earth,
you must visit and meet the people.
Travel with us, and with Martine Saunier,
to spend a year in Burgundy.
Burgundy lies at the heart of France.
Human beings have lived here
for more than 20,000 years.
To the west there are hills,
and to the east,
the rich alluvial plain of the river Sane.
And it was up this river
that the Roman came 2000 years ago,
looking for new lands to conquer,
and new things to discover.
What they found here was a great surprise.
Vines of an unparalleled quality,
and so far north!
To be sure, they weren't organized
into tidy rows in vineyards,
as they are today.
But the original varietals of
two of the world's most famous grapes
are native to this are.
The white Chardonnay and the red Pinot Noir.
To this day, virtually all Burgundy wine
is made from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
These two grapes are the real heroes of our story.
The Saunier family have lived in
Southern Burgundy for generations.
They've owned this house since the 19th century-
though the house itself dates back to the 1650s
Martine first came here as a young girl.
Every summer, she would travel out from Paris
to visit her aunt
and spend three glorious months in wine country.
This house holds many memories.
In the cellar is an ancient wine press,
still complete in every detail.
It was here, as a girl,
that Martine discovered her passion.
I was a cellar-rat.
They called me a cellar-rat because...
I used to follow the winemaker everywhere.
His name was Camille and he had a horse,
La Margaux,
and we went to the vineyard
and I loved every aspect of it.
Today, whenever she returns to Burgundy,
Martine shares this house with her brother Jacques,
an old black dog, and the family Deux Chevaux.
Driving these things is quite an art.
An art that's easily forgotten
after a few months in California.
Martine's wine distribution business
is based near San Francisco,
but at least three times a year,
she returns to France to spend time with her winemakers.
That means personal visits at all stages of the winemaking year.
She often starts near her own home,
in the Mcon region.
This is the southernmost frontier of Burgundy
-classic Chardonnay country.
Her first appointment is with Dominique Cornin.
Dominique was born just 2 miles (3 km) from here,
in a house in Chaintr.
His father was the first to clear these fields.
[speaking French]
I never went to university or studied wine at all.
My mother didnt want me to be a winemaker.
I followed three generations of winemakers,
but my mother didnt like it as a trade.
So she did everything she could to discourage me
and I studied engineering.
But I still managed to learn about winemaking...
Every vacation, whenever I had 5 minutes,
I was in the vines with my father,
watching what he did.
Dominique employs a couple of people year-round.
Almost everything is done by hand.
They make Pouilly-Fuiss
and other village appellations.
For small producers,
one bad year can wipe them out-
and 2011 had started very strangely in Burgundy.
The New Year was cold,
but then, at the end of February,
a heat-wave hit the region.
For six weeks, daytime temperatures reached
85 degrees fahrenheit(29C).
By April 12th
the vines were three weeks more advanced than normal.
[speaking French]
In case you get frost,
theres a second bud
that can save the crop, right?
The fear is frost.
If the buds develop too many leaves to early,
one severe frost can kill the whole lot.
At this stage in the year,
there's not much to be done,
except watch the sky and pray.
The unseasonable hot weather
has brought on the vines
too far, too fast.
And the almost
non-existent rainfall
threatens a serious drought
later, in the summer.
From Mcon,
Burgundy stretches north along the river Sane,
past ancient cities,
to Beaune and Nuits St-Georges,
and the Cte de Nuits,
and all the way up to Dijon.
It's 80 miles (130 km) long,
but only few miles wide.
In April 2011,
this whole region was suffering
from heat and drought.
At the village of Chorey, near Beaune,
new vines are being planted
in the dry dirt.
During the winter, Michel Gay
and his son Sebastien
had grubbed up old vines
that were past their best,
and were starting again.
Michel's grapes used to go
to the local co-operative,
but 20 years ago, he started
making the wine himself.
The family now owns
about 24 acres(10 hectares).
By any normal
standards of agriculture,
this is still a tiny operation,
but it's profitable because the
added value of these wines-
even the less famous ones-is very large.
What's more,
their 24 acres(10 hectares) are spread out
across several miles.
A dozen disconnected vineyards.
This is their newest-tucked into a warm
and fortunate corner.
It's smaller than many people's
back yards.
What goes on here is more like
gardening than agriculture.
[Sebastien speaking French]
This will be the first year
we harvest these vines.
Theyre 3 years old.
With 3 or 4 bunches on each vine,
well get about 300 bottles from this field.
Thats the most they can produce,
because theyre very young.
Later, when we start to prune them
like the others,
theyll produce more.
When the vines established,
it will go into
full production in about 7 years.
People have been making wine in Burgundy
for almost 2000 years,
but it's never been easy.
When the Roman empire collapsed
the invading Goths
had little taste for the finer things in life.
The fledgeling wine business
might have died completely,
if it wasn't for Christianity.
The Christian Mass requires
that the death of Christ
be memorialized in bread and wine.
In the Dark Ages,
finding wine was no easy matter
in much of Europe.
But in the monasteries
and abbeys of Burgundy,
the communion wine was of a
quality unsurpassed anywhere.
These massive churches-
this is the abbey at Tournus-were built
in the Roman style.
The priests and monks
who presided over them
preserved much of the Roman knowledge
of fine living and wine
for more than 1000 years.
One small collection of buildings has survived,
from the medieval
wine industry in Burgundy.
This is Clos de Vougeot,
headquarters of wine-making for
the Cistercian monks.
This was wine production
on a heroic scale.
The vast wooden wine-presses still survive,
as do the storage vats,
in a series of huge wooden barns.
And they still stand,
right in the middle of the finest area
of Burgundian red-wine production:
the Cte de Nuits.
To this day,
there are dozens of ancient cellars in Burgundy,
built by Cistercian monks.
This one is owned by the
Domaine Morey-Coffinet,
further south,
in Chassagne Montrachet.
Thibault Morey, just 30,
is now the principal
and his father Michel
runs the operation.
Martine visits them
two or three times a year
to select wines
for her list.
Martine has known this family
for almost 40 years:
4 generations of wine-makers.
[speaking French]
Now lets try the Farande.
Its my most favorite.
The vines are 75 years old,
arent they? Or 74?
- Theyre grand old ladies.
- Oh, I dont know...
- I think theyre quite young.
- Careful what you say...
Thats magnificent.
Its a shame to spit it out.
But Martine...
Youve only got one more to taste!
Yes I know.
But its still a shame to spit it out.
I think no-one has a particular gift
at the start.
As little children we grow up
surrounded by vines and wine and cellars...
...by fathers and grandfathers who talk about wine,
and the aromas and tannins.
I think that,
even as a little child,
even if you dont taste it...
...you start to get a feeling
for wine quite quickly.
By the age of 5 or 6,
Thibault could
identify different wines by their smell.
That one is more mineral.
Very fine.
When I was young it was my passion.
I only went to school because I had to.
When I came home I joined my parents
in the vines and the cellars.
Ive always been fascinated by these huge cellars.
When youre small, to see cellars like these,
which are so beautiful...
When I think of the work that it took...
It was all done by hand,
carved out of the rock...
The flavors not there yet.
Its still very closed,
but even so...
When I go to work tomorrow morning in the cellars...
...my eyes will be wide open,
like a child.
When the monks
built these caves,
they built them to last-
as if they knew we'd
still be enjoying the wine, 500 years later.
This is a fortunate land.
The Sane Valley
is incredibly fertile,
though the grapes
prefer the gentle slopes.
The best land of all
for the Pinot Noir is here:
the Cte de Nuits,
north of Beaune.
It's barely 20 miles (32 km) long,
but it may be the most
prestigious wine-growing area in the world.
Here, as in the rest
of Burgundy,
wines are often
named after villages:
Clos de Vougeot,
These are picture postcard
locations full of real charm,
because the people who live
in them, for the most part,
are the same families
who've lived in them for hundreds of years.
No two winemakers
are the same, in Burgundy.
This is Bruno Clavelier.
In his spare time, he coaches
young rugby hopefuls.
He used to play
on France's national team,
like his father before him.
And, like his father before him,
he makes superb wines.
His winery is less than a mile
from the rugby field.
[speaking French]
So, Martine, this is the Combe Brle vineyard.
These are old vines.
Were just above the village of Vosne-Romane.
Just down there to the right.
The lie of the land lets you see
the different layers of soil.
Up on top of the slope
you have the limestone of Comblanchien.
No vines, just brush.
And here is Combe Brle.
The soil is chalky, with flints.
It has something special.
A cool wind comes through at night
It cools this little valley down...
and that preserves the acidity of the wine.
This soil is a real treasure,
but you have to care for it.
It has the structure were all looking for.
Its granular, with a rich scent.
It smells great.
It smells like the undergrowth in a forest.
Its a living soil.
Yes, exactly.
So what were looking at
is the microclimate, plus the geology.
Heres the Combe Brle.
Because the Combe is a small closed valley,
it has a unique microclimate.
The chalk comes from a chalk layer,
full of these petrified sea sponges.
Some are much bigger.
The soil is also rich in these flints.
If you rub them, you get a spark.
And you get that characteristic
smell of flint.
Now lets try it.
You can detect all those elements in the wine.
The hot, burned stone...
The wine has a really mineral taste.
Were on hard rocks.
Its very tight.
You can tell its a Brle...
in the nose and on the palate.
Silky in the mouth, yet with
very precise minerality.
A thousand years ago
the Cistercian monks had no idea
about this underlying geology, of course.
But they did take note
that grapes from one side of a path
tasted subtly different
from those on the other.
Over the years,
each unique terroir began to be marked
by walls and gates.
Each domain was plain to see.
All these little parcels of land
are noted on the local maps.
Here is Clos Vougeot
in all its detail.
These are not only records
of ownership,
but maps of taste.
Each tiny terroir
slightly different.
[speaking French]
To me, whats unique about Burgundy is
the incredible diversity of its terroirs.
Its amazing.
If you take a village
like Chassagne Montrachet...
Theres a premiere appellation called Les Caillerets.
We have about 40 different winemakers
in just this one appellation...
And we have about 10 different
in Chassagne.
So there are about 400 different wines being made,
just in this one little village.
In Burgundy as a whole,
there are thousands
and thousands of different terroirs.
Its impossible to know everything about Burgundy.
In late May 2011, however,
all the vineyards of Burgundy
were facing the same problem...
The youngest vines
faced the biggest challenge.
They don't yet have deep roots.
Entire plantings of new vineyards could be wiped out.
And then, just in time, the rain came.
But would it be enough?
Rain is vital in Burgundy.
Ancient custom, and the law,
decree there shall be no watering,
no irrigation of vines.
That way, the roots dig deep
into the different layers of rock below,
enhancing the taste.
Winemaker Thibault Morey plays the piano
when it's too wet to work in the vineyard.
The rain was brief.
Temporary relief for the vines,
but not the solution for the vintage.
The water quickly disappears
beneath the ground,
to feed the deep roots
of the vines,
and to bubble up as springs
in the center of ancient villages.
One day in early June,
Dominique Cornin decided
to inspect his vines,
with the help of his beloved
horse, Coccinelle...
[Dominique speaking French]
Being a winemaker, for me,
is to be in touch with nature.
Im the one who decides what to do.
If I want to work, I work.
Its above all to be in control of your life.
To be outdoors in the sunshine free!
I couldnt imagine doing anything else
because it makes me feel so good.
Even if there are difficult moments...
well, thats life.
I love my job because it lets me be myself.
If a wine reflects the character of the winemaker,
then you'd expect
the wines made here,
to be very different
from Dominique Cornin's.
This is Cristophe Perrot-Minot.
From his headquarters
in Morey-St-Denis,
he owns and manages dozens of valuable
Premier Cru vineyards
and top-of-the-line Grand Crus.
He exports most of his wine to Germany,
Britain, America, China.
This is a business,
after all.
[Cristophe speaking French]
Growing vines is purely academic.
Theres nothing artistic about it.
For me, its all very rational.
Wine is like cooking:
the grapes are just ingredients,
winemaking is the cuisine.
Naturally, we love our vineyards.
We love our terroir.
These are the vines of our parents
and great-grandparents.
We respect the work of each generation.
growing vines demands
extreme precision and rigor.
And we shouldnt get in the way of the wine.
Wine requires quality
in the grapes and the terroir.
Our job is just to be a midwife
at the birth of the wine.
30 miles (48 km) south,
in Chassagne Montrachet,
Sunday morning.
Thibault Morey
visits the furthest reaches of the family cellar.
[Thibault speaking French]
We have a little personal cellar which my father built.
This is where he stores the wines he really loves.
It feels very ancient.
Weve never changed it.
Its very damp and cold.
Its quite a special place.
The most famous
wines of Chassagne are white.
Domaine Morey-Coffinet's finest offering
is a Grand Cru Btard.
But some of the Pinot Noirs
are extraordinary too.
They get better and better
for a quarter of a century.
There's a special event today-a family reunion.
[speaking French]
Good morning, Madame,
delighted to meet you.
Finally! After 40 years!
The two sides of the family,
the Moreys and the Coffinets,
are getting together
for Sunday lunch,
a hallowed French tradition,
with family wines to match.
Both of Thibault's
grandfathers are here.
They used to be winemakers
And both grandmothers
are here too.
Three generations of
It's quite something
to drink a wine you made yourself,
35 years ago.
But wait,
there's a fourth generation.
Little Celeste
is Michel's grand-daughter.
She's just two years old.
Will Celeste be the first of a
new generation of winemakers
in 20 or 30 years time?
It's not all Sunday lunches,
being a winemaker.
You have to be master
of all trades,
not just cellar master.
In the high summer,
the vineyards are plowed, to aerate the soil.
Chemical weed-killers are used
less and less in Burgundy.
The vines are growing as fast
as they ever will.
They must be sorted out
and tied up
so that the grapes
can be picked more easily.
The whole family turns out
to help.
This is Fabienne,
Thibault's mother.
Most winemakers
trim their vines mechanically.
It's fast and cheap.
But the very best Domains can
afford to do everything by hand.
This is Arnaud Mortet,
another of Martine's
He prides himself in personally trimming
every single vine he owns.
And he does this
several times a year.
And one winemaker
doesn't trim her vines at all.
[speaking French]
Lalou, I would like to know
what you do with your vines...
...when they grow this high?
I gather all the branches from the same vine...
...all the branches...
...and then I bend them like this.
This is Lalou Bize-Leroy,
known as the Queen of Burgundy.
[speaking French]
You must bend them without tying them
together too much,
so they can breathe.
You put the ends between the two wires.
In 1989 we changed all
our wooden posts for higher ones...
...and we added a second wire to attach them.
It will be held like that
so it doesnt become a jungle.
- I notice the next vineyard here.
- Thats whats usually done in Burgundy.
The vines are pruned as usual.
- The posts are not so high.
- And the second wire isnt doubled.
It took them one hour to prune their whole vineyard.
It took us a whole day to do one row.
Its not the same culture.
Not at all.
Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon in my vines.
Yes, of course, I know my vines!
When they dont see me theyre unhappy.
When I arrive theyre happy.
I really love my vines.
Vines are not well understood.
You have to put yourself in their place.
You have to understand why theyre not doing well.
You have to be part of the life of the vine,
and the life of the soil too.
Thats all youve got to do.
Of course, I believe in biodynamics.
We should cut out all chemical substances.
the herbicides, the insecticides,
the fungicides, the pesticides all the icides.
They sound just like homicide!
We should stop killing things
and give them the life force instead.
The intimate relationship between humans and vines
is summed up by Lalou's former winemaker,
Dd Poncheret.
[speaking French]
A vine has to suffer...
...to make good grapes.
You cant coddle it,
or it will become lazy like a couch potato.
He sits there and you feed him.
He doesnt have to work.
If the roots dont dig deep,
theres trouble.
They have to go down 4 or 5 meters.
Then if its dry for a couple of months,
no problem.
The vine will survive.
A vine can live 100 years if you treat it right.
Even if theres no work to do on a Sunday,
you must go and visit your vines.
Thats the important thing.
Theres always something youll discover.
It's mid-summer:
at least two months
'til the harvest.
At Clos Vougeot,
there's a celebration.
The chateau opens its doors
to the Chevaliers du Tastevin.
The Chevaliers are Burgundy's
biggest fans.
More than 500 of the
specially selected members
will sit down
to a six-course meal,
accompanied by the finest wines
of the region.
Everything has to be
just right.
For Burgundy lovers,
this is the Holy of Holies.
The tradition dates back
only to the 1930's... but still.
The first round
in this test of stamina
is an ice-cold glass
of sparkling wine.
Thibault and his wife Christine
are Martine Saunier's guests.
Serving 500 people simultaneously
to a Cordon Bleu meal
takes a little thought.
Meanwhile, the ceremony begins.
New members will be initiated
into the Knighthood of Wine Tasters.
And then
down to the serious business.
It's a six-course banquet:
baby rabbit
with a Saint Romain to drink,
sea urchins
with a Grand Cru Corton,
Burgundy egg surprise
with a Montly.
All that and more.
And entertainment!
Some people
have come 2000 miles (3000 km) for this dinner,
like these Russian generals.
All this in honor of the wines
of Burgundy.
When should you
start to pick the grapes?
Everyone has to make
their own decision.
If possible,
avoid the full moon, it's generally agreed.
It's usually around 100 days
after the vines have flowered,
but that depends on the
kind of weather you're having.
In 2011, the summer turned wet
and cold.
The vines, which had been three
weeks in advance in June,
now slowed down.
The harvest was still
going to be early, but how early?
August the 20th?
September the first?
You have to watch the sky,
because rain
is the decisive factor at this stage.
Normally the Burgundy harvest
begins down south in Mcon,
where it's warmer.
And so it was in 2011.
On August the 25th,
Dominique Cornin gathered
a motley band of students and locals,
and set out for one of
his most valuable vineyards.
But there's tension in the air.
It's still only August, and
many of the grapes are ready,
and a major rainstorm
These are high value grapes.
They're being grown for the
ancient Hospice de Beaune.
Dominique can't afford to lose
any of these.
He's personally out in the fields,
all day long, on the tractor.
And so the harvest begins
three weeks earlier than usual,
and the weather forecast
is terrible.
But rain isn't the only
What if it turns to hail?
[Michel speaking French]
When you hear the thunder,
youre often looking out of the window...
Youre looking to see if its rain
or little hailstones. Or large ones...
Little ones arent bad, but big ones...
The problem is that,
during a storm,
even if you cant see the hailstones...
...the hail can be falling very close by,
on vines only 200 or 300 meters away.
So after the storm, you take the car
and go round the vines
to see if theres been serious damage.
The only thing to do is
to cut the grapes immediately,
before disease gets into the fruit.
Its crazy.
You call the grape-pickers
and hit the ground running.
Youve got to pick those grapes.
On August the 31st,
Thibault gets an E-Mail
from the laboratory.
Their very best grapes
are ready to pick,
but storms are forecast,
and their grape-pickers
won't arrive for two days.
Michel talks to the lab.
[speaking French]
I admire people who keep calm...
Sure, you never know
if theyre really calm inside, I mean.
But my fathers always been very stressed
and I have to say, me too.
Thibault? I hope hes a little less so...
After all, it doesnt help, does it?
So the problem is whether
it will rain on Thursday evening...
OK, thank you. Ill see you soon.
Thanks again. Goodbye.
The decision's made.
They'll harvest
the Grand Cru Btard tomorrow,
and the family will have to do
all the work.
The Btard is the most valuable
land the Morey-Coffinets own.
Just up the road from their home,
it produces superb Chardonnay.
But in this sea of vines,
they only own six rows.
The question is... which six?
All that marks their last row is
a knotted piece of cloth.
The task at hand is for five people to bring in
the entire crop,
before the grapes heat up
in the noonday sun.
Picking grapes
is back-breaking work.
You get into a rhythm.
As the sun rises,
the chatter dies down.
Before they
get too hot,
the grapes are rushed back
to the winery.
They're given
a quick inspection,
and then they're on the way
to the wine press.
White grapes are crushed
and the juice is separated
from the skins and bits of twig
That is, when you can get
the machine started.
This is what will
turn into a Btard Grand Cru,
after 18 months of fermentation
and tender loving care.
Today it's just grape juice.
In two years time,
it'll cost you
more than $200 a bottle.
The juice is immediately pumped into
stainless steel holding tanks,
to keep it cool.
That way, fermentation
won't begin too soon.
Already, perhaps,
the expert can tell how good
the eventual wine may be.
The worst thing
about the summer of 2011
was that the rain came
too close to the harvest.
[Sebastien speaking French]
The vines are growing too fast,
weve had too much rain.
The grapes will be too big,
and are at risk...
...of mildew. Or rot. Or both.
Botrytis the bad kind, not the noble rot.
What we need is like yesterday: a brief shower.
Up to 25 or 30 mm of rain...
...and a bit of sun and heat.
Not 40C, like in 2003.
30 or 35C degrees maximum, like normal.
But you can't wait too long,
or the grapes will spoil on the vine.
So, on the 28th of August,
the Gays made their final
preparations for the harvest.
Family winemakers need to do
everything themselves,
from planting new vines
to light welding.
Everything has to be ready
for the big day,
right down to the beds set up
for the grape-pickers.
And then,
it's a waiting game.
Waiting for the perfect day
to begin.
By the end of August,
all over Burgundy,
fleets of white vans
are on the road.
The harvest is in full swing.
An army of temporary workers
will be assembled,
some of them old hands,
some of them new.
At Sebastien and Michel Gay's,
they sign in,
and then it's out to the fields
It's Michel, Sebastien's father,
who runs things in the field.
His problem, in this vineyard,
is hail.
Many of the grapes
have been damaged,
and that's why
they started here, to save the crop.
So, the hail...
The damaged part
must be scraped off like this...
This is what the hail does.
This grape has burst.
You can see the seeds.
The hailstones go right through the leaves.
9:30 am:
first break in the day, time for a hearty snack.
French grape-pickers
expect to be well-fed,
and Michel's one of the crew.
It may be only 9:30,
but that's
no reason not to have a drink
and make a few friends.
The first batch
from the hail-damaged vineyard
is on its way
back to the winery.
Sebastien's in charge here.
He can't afford to let
any of the damaged grapes
get through the sorting
[speaking French]
About 50% of them have got problems.
One half of the vineyard
got most of the damage.
Most of these are fine.
There are still a few
which need to be taken out.
Another problem with hail,
when the grapes are ready...
...is that they get damaged
and grow scar tissue.
After fermentation, the wine can taste like cork.
We call it the taste of hail.
It can ruin the wine.
20 miles (32 km) north, in Vosne-Romane,
it's cooler, and they haven't
started the harvest yet.
Christophe Perrot-Minot
wants to wait 'til the last possible minute
to get the maximum flavor
out of his grapes.
He and his winemaker
take samples for testing.
Note, it's the owner of the Domain
who does this work personally.
Christophe knows every row
of vines in over 20 vineyards,
scattered across the Cte de Nuits.
[speaking French]
Theres real potential.
The colors better than 2007.
Perrot-Minot will now take these grapes
back to the lab, his lab,
for analysis.
Only then will he know
when to harvest.
Absolute precision is required.
[speaking French together]
Martine, you have to put 10 grapes in
and I have to put in 20.
An exact number
of grapes is counted out...
and then crushed.
The grape juice is filtered,
and then analyzed by computer.
Are these grapes ready?
The read-out says it all:
acidity, sugar content.
What was once done
by hunch alone, is now a science.
The wild card is the weather.
You might want to wait a day
or two, but you don't want rain.
[speaking French]
Wednesday will be nice...
Thursday nice...
Friday, a storm, rain, 17C (63F)
Another storm
is on the way,
and Perrot-Minot
is taking no chances.
He'll start tomorrow.
The procedure
is more or less the same,
at every winery in Burgundy.
Assemble the troops
at 7 o'clock and-
first things first-
do the paperwork.
This being France, there's an unimaginable
quantity of paperwork.
Every single employee
has to be entirely legal.
Five separate
government departments
and the police
check on who's working.
Christophe's father leads
the troops out into the fields,
but the briefing is given
by his son.
[speaking French]
Please stand still and Ill show you...
Its important you understand that
there is a lot of rot this year.
We didnt have a very good summer...
...so youre going to find
some bunches like this.
You must absolutely not put these in the buckets
because we cant do anything with them.
Every time you put a bunch in the bucket,
ask yourself: is it good or not?
If you get one like this, its not difficult.
You just cut the rotten part off,
and drop it on the ground, not in the bucket.
So with each bunch,
look at it carefully
and only keep the best part.
This part you discard, this part you keep.
The briefing over,
the harvesters are assigned
their duties.
Now, the hard work begins.
Every move is supervised
by the Perrot-Minots.
Every bucket of grapes
is scrutinized.
[speaking French]
No no no!
Theres nothing but rot here!
This is rotten!
This is someone who was busy talking
or wasnt looking.
Its not a joke. Im not kidding.
This buckets full of rot. Look!
Its OK if you didnt understand the first time,
but not the second time.
Its really not a joke.
I respect my workers.
You have to respect my work.
So worried is Christophe about the rotten grapes,
that he hurries back
to the winery...
in fact, he runs.
The first batch has already arrived
and is now being processed.
[speaking French]
What about the rot. How bad is it?
Not too much, eh?
Theres some here, but its not bad.
Everybody is completely focused on the grapes.
[speaking French]
Theyre very nice, right?
But Christophe will soon have
something else to worry about.
Who's have guessed that the
police would choose today
to arrive and check everybody's
work permit...
And stop the photography too,
of course.
Not only do they come to your door,
they're watching you from the sky.
Helicopter patrols check who's
harvesting where and when.
Christophe's father
has seen it all before.
Lunchtime for the grape-pickers
at Domaine Morey-Coffinet.
There'll be four courses,
all prepared, cooked and served,
by Thibault's mother, Fabienne.
Fabienne will put on
this kind of meal, for 27 people,
twice a day,
for a week.
It's not surprising
that most of the locals,
and some of the students,
come back here
to work the harvest, year after year.
30 miles (48 km) north,
in Vosne-Romane
all the attention
is on the grapes at the winery
of Lalou Bize-Leroy.
[speaking French]
You have to respect the grapes.
The whole year long,
weve coddled these grapes.
We dont just dump them in a bucket
and bring them back like a pile of manure.
We carry them back in little baskets,
like raspberries.
On the sorting table,
we check them very carefully.
There are as many people sorting as picking.
We take our time.
Pinot Noir produces a low yield.
The best grapes
are incredibly valuable.
20 pairs of eyes
are checking them.
The sharpest eyes of all
are Lalou's.
Since she started wine-making,
she has supervised
the quality of her grapes... personally.
Not a single blemish
will be permitted.
At last, it's all over.
The harvest is finished
at Domaine Morey-Coffinet.
There's a tradition here
that on the last afternoon,
there's some fun.
They let off steam.
The youngest grape-picker
gets to tease the boss.
There's some horsing around.
Then there's happy chaos.
At the heart of the chaos,
Michel Morey, owner of the Domain.
Not every winery sees the boss
join in the craziness.
Everyone knows
it's time to relax.
Back at the house,
preparations are in hand
for a more sophisticated celebration.
Cleaned up, after the
food-fight in the fields,
the grape-pickers come to
a party in the cellars,
to honor the harvest of 2011.
Everyone's here, hosted of
course by Michel and Thibault.
They're pouring a selection of
bottles from the last ten years.
Even Celeste is part
of the party, of course.
Now is a time to reflect,
to consider past vintages,
to taste and to enjoy.
Maps of Burgundy,
the Chassagne region,
remind the students that
they're following a thousand-year tradition.
Like generations before them,
they're learning from those
who know fine wine.
Outside in the fields,
the first signs of autumn
are appearing.
The vine-leaves have done
their work for the year.
They've harvested the sun,
they've created the grapes.
Now, they die.
Every year,
it's a spectacular show.
Sebastien Gay is the first
of all the winemakers
to punch down his grapes.
Pigeage, as it's known,
is only done to red grapes,
and helps to infuse the juice
with the red color
and flavor of the skins.
These are the grapes from the
hail-damaged vineyard.
They're starting to ferment
of their own accord,
so this must be done soon,
and fast.
From here on, every winemaker
does things their own way.
[speaking French]
First, we're going..
to make our own unique wine.
We dont want our neighbors copying us.
If we make something really good, really special,
theyll say, How did you do that?
theyll say, How did you do that?
Im like a chef with a secret sauce.
I wont tell.
We work behind closed doors.
Open the doors for the harvest.
Close them to make the wine.
Thats what my father used to say.
How to do pigeage
isn't a secret.
It's what the winemakers learn
from doing it, that's important.
Some of them insist
on getting right into the tank,
to understand
what they're dealing with.
[speaking French]
Whats interesting and important is that
each vine has its own unique grapes.
Some have thin skins and more juice.
Some have thicker skins and less juice.
Theres a balance between solid and liquid.
Every vine is different.
What is really interesting is
to feel the difference yourself.
When you punch the grapes down personally,
you feel the resistance.
You feel whether the grapes
are more solid or more liquid.
Then you know instinctively
how to make this wine
so that it will express its character.
About three years ago,
I got much more relaxed
about the whole process.
I was more open.
There was a much deeper connection
between me and the grapes.
For three years Ive been making wine
with real feeling my own way...
...rather than following the rules
and doing what they tell you.
I feel like an artist now.
I paint what I like.
Nobody tells me what to do.
Just down the road from Perrot-Minot,
Lalou Bize-Leroy is reviewing
her harvest with Martine.
[speaking French]
Let me show you what we did yesterday.
This is a beautiful vat.
If you want to have a look...
We poured their juice back over them
two or three times.
Theyre La Roche,
harvested the day before yesterday.
Theyre like the grapes on the sorting table.
Theyre not de-stemmed or crushed,
so theres no juice on top.
De-stemming damages the grapes.
You must avoid disturbing the yeast
in the skins.
Heres health to us all and our work.
And health to the vintage...
Is it good?
Each vine has its own yeast.
Yeast gives a wine its identity
because it is part of the grape.
Its in the earth and the air too...
Its yeast thats the wine-maker - not us.
Its yeast that breaks down the grapes
and changes sugar into alcohol.
The alcohol kills off the yeast,
but its the yeast that gives birth to the wine.
Thats a good lesson to learn.
We have to realize that
were all part of the same universe,
and we need all its energies.
Down this sorting table come very special grapes.
From them, Lalou Bize-Leroy
makes some of the rarest,
most famous, most expensive
wines on Earth.
Each one created by its own
unique combination of yeasts.
The future value of what's in these vats
is hard to imagine.
And if you go downstairs,
you enter Aladdin's cave,
because here are Lalou's wines
in barrel,
and visitors get to try
whatever is offered.
What's offered is very good
[speaking French]
Weve got more than 6 acres(2.62 Hectares)
of this one alone...
In the depths of winter,
the winemakers of Burgundy
go to ground.
Barrels add flavor, over time.
But every day, they lose a
little of their contents to
Too much air in the barrel
does no favors to red wine,
so they need to be topped up,
at least once a week.
The wine also likes
to be gently stirred.
[Thibault speaking French]
Batonnage consists of stirring the sediment
into the wine to give it more body.
If the wine is a bit too acidic,
well do this a couple of times a week.
This will fatten up the wine
and make up for whats missing.
I feel good down in the cellar
because its very calm.
Since they were constructed by the monks
back in the 16th century...
...theres a special
atmosphere down here.
I love it.
Often I put on some classical music
in the barrel room.
It does me good,
and I think it does the wine good too.
Wine is alive.
From the moment you pick the grapes
till the moment you drink it,
its alive.
Music calms it as it matures.
But is there room
in the modern world
for the winemaker-artist,
who creates unique wines
to suit his own personality?
[Dd speaking French]
Burgundy wines
ought to be all different.
But science now allows us to make wines
that are all the same.
Thats a pity.
They all used to have their own character,
like human beings.
But progress is pushing all of us
to make the same kind of wine.
How much will the standard tastes
of the international market
force Burgundy to change?
How will the winemakers survive
if they insist on allowing
each vintage
to be its own unique self?
4000 miles (6500 km) to the west of France,
lies one of Burgundy's
most important markets,
the United States.
This is Blackberry Farm,
a luxury resort in Tennessee.
A group of friends get together
to enjoy the best of Burgundy.
These are people who look for wines
that are unique.
Wonderful color. Wonderful. This is spectacular.
They are tasting Christophe Perrot-Minot's
2008 Chambertin.
Now I'm going to introduce you
to my third winemaker
I brought specially,
He is the grandson of Marc Morey, famous winemaker.
And also, I have to tell you,
Thibault is a great pianist also.
This wine is very delicate,
and it needs maybe
8 or 10 years to open.
But we'll try to taste it now.
And I...
The future of Burgundy
depends on the taste
of connoisseurs like these.
This is a Premier Cru, very famous in Burgundy.
Later, there'll be a dinner,
with a Burgundy to match each course.
to Blackberry Farms.
And to good friends.
Good friends.
As the year turns,
the wine-making families go out
in ones and twos,
to prune their vines.
This will make the root stalk stronger
for the next harvest.
They burn the dead wood
right here in the field.
The ashes fall to the ground,
making good natural fertilizer.
This is something they've done
for hundreds of years.
But then,
there's a lot of things
they do in Burgundy,
that they've been doing for
hundreds of years.
In a couple of months,
exactly when, who knows,
the first signs of spring
will come again,
and then, it'll be another
year in Burgundy.