Harvest is a festive time in Champagne, and many people from young to old like to sample the atmosphere. Especially the traditional presses speak to the imagination. This is why Eric and Mica Rodez often welcome visitors in their press center. When I visited on Monday afternoon, there was a group of students from Chalons-en-Champagne as well as a group of pensioners from the local retirement home. “When people ask to visit. my always try to accommodate and welcome them, even if it s not always easy. But I feel it’s important to share this part of our work with the local community”, says Eric.
The two groups gathered around the press just in time to see the retrouse whilst Eric and Mica explained the process.
Eric has two tradional presses and is an official press centre for Veuve Cliquot growers. They started harvest last week. Eric began to pick on Monday (14 September). He started with the Chardonnay and expected to only tackle the Pinot noir toward the end of the week. “The fruit is very healthy so I decided to wait for the optimum ripeness”,explains Eric.
When I asked his opinion about the harvest he tentatively said he believed it would be a great harvest: “We only started to pick today. Everything looks great so far, but as last year was my very best harvest ever I have great expectations. We will see how things measure up in a few days.” However like many others he believed that the working of the foil and the biodynamic way of working will make a big difference this year. “When you create a good energy in the vine, the balance is easier foubd. When a plant is healthy on top, it will also be healthy under ground and this shows especially in s dry year like 2015”, elaborates Eric. He adds: “We really can see the difference in material, minerality and length present in the juice.”