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Dear <<First Name>> <<Last Name>>

A tribute to the Rolling Stones at the Chateau at Saze, on the 25th of July it is Mick Jagger’s 77th birthday on the 26th of July. Started at 9.30pm and finished at 11.00pm.

It was very well organised, everyone wearing face masks and for people who did not have one they were available at the entrance as well as hand sanitizer gel.

The seating was set out with distances between each chair but there were additional chairs available so that family groups could sit together.

The Rhone Delta.
The Rhone Delta.
A second visit to Saintes Maries de la Mer, this is the bull fighting arena.
 
The beach was quiet because of a sea fret but the town centre was busy especially the restaurants, there are a multitude of them.

Aperitifs on offer: tellines with a 10cl glass of wine 9.50€ and six oysters with 10cl of wine 6.50€.
We visited on a Wednesday the fish market is on Thursdays.
These are daurades, fish from the Mediterranean, we used vine wood to barbecue them.

Wine

The French wine industry is suffering very badly because of the pandemic, the French government is offering distillation. This is when the wine is sold for  use as industrial alcohol, you receive a very small payment for this. During the Wine Crisis 2003-13 we had to use this facility on several occasions, the payment we received only covers the processing costs at the cooperative. The cooperative is viable but the producers receive nothing.

As far as I know Cotes du Rhone are not applying for distillation but prices are very low, there has been a series of small harvests mainly because of climatic conditions. Bordeaux regional producers had to take the offer as well as other regions in France.

Champagne has been very badly affected with large stocks of unsold wine. I listened to a representative of the negociants and Champagne houses being interviewed by the BBC.

“What will you do with your stocks of Champagne?” “Keep them they improve with age!”

“Will you drop your prices?” “No!”

“What is the yield this year?” “At the moment there are  tense negotiations with the growers”

This was July; 2/3 of the grapes that are used to produce champagne are produced by independent growers.

They aim for 66 hectos/hectare (an hectolitre is 100 litres.)

A Decanter article on this and the Champagne website.

 

We are based at the very south of the Cotes du Rhone, it is very difficult to reach maturity with Mourvedre to the north of us.
This image and the following  three images are taken from Rapport d`Activite 2019 produced by the Syndicat General des Vignerons des Cotes du Rhone .

The Cooperative has sold all white, rose and Signargues Village, they have removed  (from the market) any Cotes du Rhone regional rouge that they have left because the price is so low. The quality of wine is very high because of the small harvests. It will be another small harvest this year because of the frost earlier on.

 

Because they are not offering the CDR rouge they have reduced our payments, which were small last year because of the small harvest but we should benefit in the long run. It is never a good time to sell wine just before the harvest, the merchants know that the vats have to be emptied for the new harvest. We have been asked to estimate our harvest so they can plan the capacity that is needed and as it is going to be another small harvest.

 

It is the producers choice whether they produce CDR or Signargues the yield is less for Signargues so the price has to be higher to compensate. It is also interesting to produce it in years when there is a small harvest, because you need less grapes. The average yield is 36 Hectolitres a hectare, you are allowed to produce 41 hectos/hect if you have the grapes. For CDR it is 51 hectos/hect, as you can see for the graph that has never been achieved globally over the past ten years.

How we are paid from the cooperative: we receive a very conservative monthly payment for twelve months from January, after the harvest, there is always a balance. We received 50% of the balance 18 months after the harvest and the rest 2 years after. We work directly after the harvest, fertilising, pruning, it is 2 years before you get the all of the return and more that a year before you receive a small portion.

 

Boar Damage
We are getting very close to the harvest and as the grapes ripen they start attracting boars, that damage the fruit.
The hunting season for boars is in the winter but because of the damage they are doing to the vineyards they have reopened the season.
Yours sincerely,

Arthur Cook



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Domaine de Palejay · 8 rue du Grand Pont · Rochefort du Gard 3650 · France

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