One of the questions I am asked all the time is “David, other than drinking wine and squeezing a couple of grapes, what do you do in Cardan when you visit?” I thought it would be fun this week to (briefly?) capture a Day in the life of brand Paradise Rescued. If only it was all about drinking wine and squeezing grapes!!

Sunrise on Harvest Day - inspiring!

                             Sunrise on Harvest Day – inspiring!

Let’s take the final Friday of our recent visit to Cardan Bordeaux as an example. Wake up time varies depending on the previous evening’s work load and the morning’s schedule ahead. At 7am in early October, it is cool and still dark. But time to start nevertheless. Once a couple of shutters are open on the house, the first and most important activity is a quick check into the winery. Early morning we like to “sweep” the air through to maintain a healthy atmosphere for fermentation which is happening big time in vat C-2 which contains the Cabernet Franc must. A touch test to the outside of C-2 confirms a steady warmth overnight and a further check to the main thermometer shows a healthy 19C, our target winery temperature during this time. We also give each barrel containing the lovely 2013 CabFranc a quick wake up kiss!

Back to the house in time to cut up fruit for the team breakfast (along with mandatory French coffee) and review / respond to the media, news and overnight mail. Tricia has prepared a few new branded photos for use during the remaining days. The media is prepared and scheduled.

First appointment for the day is (as always) the bread shop in Cadillac. French baguette is a “must” in the Paradise Rescued team day. Next stop is the Customs Office in Langon to sign off some authorisation papers for the first phase of the planned mini extension to the Hourcat Sud block, which requires some of the unloved and unused table grapes to be dug up.

Pascale "pumps over" the fermenting Cabernet Franc must

      Pascale “pumps over” the fermenting Cabernet Franc must

Back to Cadillac and a visit to the Bricolage (DIY) shop to pick up a couple of improvement items for the winery before heading to the Credit Agricole Bank. Once again more papers to be signed with some important updates to help streamline payments for our business but most importantly an update and improvements to our loan package.

By 11.30, I am back at the house in time to meet the arrival of Pascale our vigneronne who has come to carry out the daily “pump over” of the fermenting Cabernet Franc in vat C-2. Today is the first day of a closed pump over whereby we connect the pump suction directly to the bottom of the vat (without first running the juice an open baste or giant bucket) and pump the juice over the top of the fermenting “cap”. We have introduced a new method of distributing / aerating the juice and this revised process is already giving improved results. Temperature and density measurements of the juice are taken and recorded. The ferment is progressing well.

Lunchtime and coffee follow. Monsieur Pays and his tractor arrive and we head to the Hourcat Centre Merlot block to discuss the work. The new baby vines have taken well with almost no plant losses. The soil looks amazing as M. Pays weaves his magic leaving no weeds and the areas between each row ready for winter cereal sowing. This block has a long way to go before we can seriously harvest it, but the early signs are very promising. Tricia has seized on the opportunity to photograph the babies…

The results - the 2014 Merlot wine in new C-5 vat

               The results – the 2014 Merlot wine in new C-5 vat

We leave M.Pays to do what he does best and head down to Hourcat Sud to review the 2015 season’s plans for this block. Back at the house, we discuss the timeline for bottling and the plan for supplying the corks. A quick telephone call to our cork supplier and revised design requirements are exchanged with a target date set for the end of November. We say farewell to Pascale for another day.

Time for a quick run through the vines – simply a lovely experience in such beautiful surroundings – before showering and dinner! We need to start using up the leftovers now. Tonight is the first night eating at the house after a long week of evening engagements with our friends in Cardan, our team and network of important contacts in Bordeaux.

Just before lights out, Twitter goes ballistic! A lady in San Francisco wants a copy of one of photos as a poster. Happy to help! Time for a final check in the winery and goodnight kisses for the barrels. All in a day’s work for brand Paradise Rescued….