Harvest are managed by the cooperative to select the best plots
The cooperative ensured that the grapes on each plot were at the optimal ripeness depending on the style of wine desired: young and fruity wine, wine ideal for laying down, wine aged in barrels…
Before harvesting a check on the ripeness of grapes in each section of vines allows them to be picked at the optimum time by visual inspection, analyses and berries tasting. Then, in the beginning of September, harvest get started until the end of October and are done grape variety by grape variety. White and rosé ones are harvest in the cool of night. Freshness is essential to keep the grape aromatic compounds and avoid oxidation.
Four receiving areas are available for the winemakers to receive harvests but all the wine making is totally done in Geaune cooperative.
• Tursan area : 2 receiving areas in Geaune
• Chalosse area : 1 receiving area in Mugron and 1 in Pouillon
DRY WHITE WINE
Dry white wine are issued from BAROQUE, GROS-MANSENG and SAUVIGNON BLANC grape varieties. At the reception of harvests, an operator measures the degree (obtained by the sugar level) and the weight. He checks the real quality compared to the expected one. At this time, the becoming of harvest depends on the color of the wine desired.
Once the measures done, white harvest is being sent in a pneumatic press allowing a slow and respectful process in order to extract 80% of the juice in grapes. Each pneumatic press can receive from 20 to 30 tons of harvest (2.5ha). Each pressing cycle has approximately 2 hours.
Sometimes, we are doing skin contact maceration to enhance aromatic profile of white wines. In this case, grape skin and juice macerate together between 6 and 8 hours, without any loss of juice.
Juices are captured in winepresses and are sorted according to their quality (only the first ones would be used to make appellation wines). Then, grape juice is cooled to 8-10°C thus accelerating the sedimentation of suspended matter and clarify the juice. Approximately 48 hours later, the clear juices are separated by pumping out the must deposits and the chosen yeasts are added.
Alcoholic fermentation started processing sugar into alcohol thanks to the yeasts. The fermentation stage lasts for about 8 to 10 days. Keeping the temperature between 16 and 18°C is essential in order to preserve the fruity taste and wine aromas. The fermentation is stopped when only 2g of sugar remains: dry white wine is produced.
The ageing of wine:
Once the fermentation is over, the wine ageing process lasts from 4 to 18 months. Some are ageing in barrels, others in vats, depending on their potential and the winemaker goals. During this phase, wines from different grape varieties are blended after tasting. Wines are also stabilized to allow a better conservation. Wine is filtered to become limpid, clear and sparkling and then bottled.
SWEET WHITE WINE
Sweet white wines are PGI wines because specifications of the Tursan PDO banned it. The process is basically the same than dry white wine except:
• Grapes shall be harvested later (at the end of October) to obtain grapes naturally rich in sugar. Grape varieties are also different, we use some that are rich in sugar: GROS-MANSENG, PETIT-MANSENG and ARRILOBA; and TANNAT for the sweet Rosé one.
• Alcoholic fermentation is stopped when the balance of tastes between sweet and alcohol is satisfying (generally 11% alcohol and 40g of sugar/liter)
• Alcoholic fermentation is stopped by cooling the wine under 8 degrees. At this temperature activity of yeasts is naturally stopped.
Rosé wines are obtained from these grape varieties: CABERNET FRANC, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, TANNAT and FER SERVADOU. We produce only pressed rosé wines and not the “rosé de Saignée”.
Grapes have to be just ripe, not too much in order to keep the freshness of the fruit. Color of the wine came from the anthocyanins present in the skin of the grape.
At the reception of harvests, an operator measures the degree (obtained by the sugar level) and the weight. Then the grapes are send to a pneumatic press. Depending on the years and the varieties, the maceration lasts between 4 and 6 hours.
Maceration is used to extract the anthocyanins, essential to give this characteristic color to the Rosé wines. Tasting, visual and analytical checks are made to determine the appropriate time to press the juice. Then, the process is the same than the white wines one (pressing, clarification, fermentation and ageing).
Red wines are made from these varieties: CABERNET FRANC, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, TANNAT and FER SERVADOU.
Vatting period and alcoholic fermentation:
The grape harvest is sorted depending the same maturity criteria than white and rosé wines. The whole harvest is moved towards concrete or stainless vats. Once vats are full, the vatting period gets started. The maceration occurred while the temperature is kept between 24 and 26°C. Alcoholic fermentation naturally started few hours later. Due to the fermentation effect and the release of carbon dioxide produced by the yeasts, a cap appeared on the top of the vats. This cap is composed of grape skins floating above the juice.
Once or twice a day, we are doing a pumping over: the juice under the cap is used to spray the cap itself. By diffusion through the cap, all the qualitative components contained in the grape skins are extracted by the juice (the tannins giving the wine structure, the anthocyanins for wine color and aromatics compounds). This phase lasts between 10 and 25 days depending on the qualitative potential of the harvest and the type of red wine wanted. With daily tasting, oenologists decide when it should ended.
Once the vatting period is over, the juice is extracted, ventilated and pumped to another vat where it would continue its alcoholic fermentation if it is not ended. The marc from the cap containing the solid parts (grape skin, seeds, pulp…) is pressed to extract the last juice. This press juice will be vinified separately. Depending on the years, this press wine can be reincorporated.
Once the alcoholic fermentation is over, the red wine is not ready and a second fermentation occurred: the malolactic fermentation. This time, yeasts are replaced by natural bacteria present in the grape skin that will change the malic acid naturally contained in the grapes into lactic acid which give to the wine a better conservation and a taste less acidic.
This second fermentation need a minimum temperature of 20°C. Depending the years, it lasts between 1 and 3 months. Sometimes, it ended at the next spring.
The ageing of wine:
Once the fermentations are over, the ageing of wine get started and lasts between 6 and 24 months. Some are ageing in barrels, others in vats, depending on their potential and the winemaker goals. During this phase, wines from different varieties are blended after having taste them. Wine will be stabilized to ensure a good conservation to the consumer. It will also be filtered to be limpid, clear and sparkling before being bottled.
The cave own approximately 120 barrels spread out three wineries that are maintained at a regular temperature of 18°C. Bordelaise-type barrels are made from oak and have a capacity of 225 liters. They come from 4 french cooperages allowing a good diversities in wood varieties. One third of the barrels are renewed each year. Approximately 5% of white wines and 10% of PDO red wines spend times in barrels. Each barrel is used between 3 and 4 years.
The cave also own 4 oak tanks having a capacity of 6000 liters allowing a different ageing and a different woody taste.
Wines are filtered before being bottled. In order, bottles are:
• Inerted to remove the air from the bottles and preserve wine aromas
• Corked (with a cork or a screw-top)
• Laser-engraved on the bottle glass mentioning the date to ensure the traceability
• Packaged in cartons upside down to maintain the cork in contact with the wine to have a better conservation
All these steps are automated with capabilities between 4000 and 5000 bottles per hour. We produce 2 500 000 bottles per year in various sizes 75 cl, 50 cl, 37.5cl and magnums.
We also package the wine in Bag-in-Box. Wine is filtered and then filled in a flexible and waterproof pouch in a protective atmosphere to preserve wine aromas. Since 2015, we have automated this process to improve working conditions. We produce 200 000 BIBs per year in various sizes 3, 5 and 10 liters.
Once bottled though, wines should rest several weeks or months before being drink. Our store hall has a capacity of 2000 m² with a constant temperature between 15 and 18°C. We can store a maximum of 700 000 bottles to keep optimum conditions.
Depending on the wines, the ageing period in bottle lasts between 2 and 18 months. In the case of some wines, this period of maturing is necessary to obtain a good quality.