updates from nuits saint georges

Update 8.8.2012(12.1.2010)Ray Walker

It looks like my year is off to a promising start!

After dealing with so many moments of success bookended by
changes of plan (largely location) it was an incredible feeling to
receive the keys to the house in Nuits Saint Georges, in the center of
town where my family and I will live and make our wine. We are set to
move here from Marin County, California in April and I couldn’t be more
content about it all.

Picking a house/cuverie/cave in Burgundy is a bit more difficult than it
may sound. More difficult when you sign the lease before your wife has
viewed the house I might add. With that in mind, I was relieved when my
wife let me know that she loved the house and location…as well as the
wine. My 2010 is looking quite promising early on!

The garage in Nuits-Saint-Georges will be ‘converted’ to a cuverie. What’s
involved in the conversion? Removal of some shelves, placement of tanks
and tools and…voilà! Instant cuverie. Thankfully, there are a few
water sources in the garage and solid drain points for easy cleanup. The
location I used in Saint Aubin this year had zero drain points which
required the use of sponges and buckets for water removal. All things
considered this encouraged efficient water use and a heightened level of

The cave below the house measures roughly 45 meters squared. Visiting a
friends cave with the same proportions, I will be able to fit at least 4
rows of 8 barrels ending with a capacity just over 32 barrels if left
unstacked. Great news as I was well unsure of how two vintages could
possibly fit together.

I spent the larger part of this snowy week working down in the cave,
making preparations for next week. Easy to do when the cave is 10°C
warmer than the courtyard above. There was a great amount of debris in
the cave. Broken bricks, broken bottles, old stones, old bags, and dirt
on the bottle storage areas which all needed to be cleaned out.

The cave consists of two chambers. The closest section to the cave
entrance is for bottle storage. Two levels of arched brick storage
spaces are located at both sides of section. Going further into the
cave, down three stairs, you arrive at the door to the chais, or barrel
room. Using my new thermometer/hygrometer I note that the chais has a
higher relative humidity than the bottle storage area with chais door
and cave door closed.

With heavy snow coming in, I will take delivery of the gravel for my
cave floor next week along with more cement runners to hold the barrels
which I will move over from Saint Aubin a day later. After spending the
week in the cave and house, I feel quite comfortable down there and
excited about finishing the remaining steps to having a new home for my
wines as well as my family.


Maison Ilan

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 5 responses to “updates from nuits saint georges”

  1. Rick14th January 2010 at 10:26 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Ray,

    Best of luck in your transition. It looks like it’ll be a lovely home and “office.”

    Will you have a mailing list?

    And if you need an extra set of hands with harvest/triage in the future, please let me know (southswell@comcast.net).

    Cheers from your neighbor for only a short while more,
    Rick Dalia
    (Mill Valley)

  2. Bruce McQuistan15th January 2010 at 11:53 pmPermalinkReply

    Will you be needing a scullery maid? I don’t carry dresses well, but I can clean a mean pot.

  3. Ray Walker22nd January 2010 at 12:33 amPermalinkReply

    Hey Rick, thank you.
    I could always use a hand, or another set of eyes. Thanks for the offer. As to the home office, it is quite ideal, especially with the quantity if wine I produce. I will be back in the US soon. We can open a bottle sometime if you like…

    Hey Bruce!
    Well, I guess I should get some pots then. 🙂 I am open to people coming along and taking a peek or getting a few hours in, of course. The Charmes-Chambertin nearly killed me this year. Tough work for only two hands.

    There is a mailing list. However, I’ve tried to not promote that on Bill’s site. If you are inclined, take a peek at the site.

    Thanks again for the comments and support guys! More updates to come once I move my barrels in…

  4. Fionn28th January 2010 at 6:15 pmPermalinkReply

    Best of luck with your endeavor! Its quite inspirational. If I make it Burgundy this year, will you be accepting visitors in the Spring?



  5. Ray Walker28th January 2010 at 11:43 pmPermalinkReply

    Thanks Fionn,
    I will be accepting visitors. Not too many, as my production is tiny. However, it would be a real pleasure to meet you.

    Thanks again for the kind comment


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