Today we’ve prepared our first Pied de Cuve. This is an old technique that we are using this year to reduce our dependence on commercial yeasts. The idea is to cultivate the yeasts that are on the skins of the grapes a few days before receiving the grapes from a given vineyard and use those yeasts to inoculate the fermentation. To do so we receive the grapes a week before the vineyard is supposed to be picked and we crush the grapes by foot (Steven and I did that today, pretty fun really) in order to put in contact the yeasts that are on the grape skin and the juice from the berries. We then monitor the growth of those yeasts over time by looking at the yeast population under the microscope and by monitoring the sugar drop. This is a great process, bit more time consuming than tossing commercial yeasts from a bag into the tank, but it will increase wine complexity and it is much more romantic and elegant I think.