The Notebook

Winemaking is like Magic

Winemaking is like Magic

Antoine Coutier, Is one of our helpers during harvest time at the Vineyard he aids our Antoine in the winery. He travelled over from France this year for two weeks to assist with Hambledon’s October harvest. Antoine is one of four of the French apprentices who help with the wine making at Hambledon. Antoine’s job involves overseeing all aspects of the harvest – from the picking to the pressing. Antoine is a hard worker and an asset to the wine making team, with lots of experience working back at home for the harvest, having grown up with a Vineyard background.

Shortly before Antoine went back home to France after his stay, I interviewed him to find out what he enjoyed most about the harvest, and how he found working with the Hambledon team this year. Here’s what he had to say about his Hambledon Harvest Experience.

Why did you choose to come over to help with the harvest in England?
I enjoy every element of the process of wine making. It is very rewarding. This is my second harvest this year, however my first harvest over in England for this year. I still enjoy each harvest.

Whereabouts in France are you from?
I am from Ambonnay in Champagne, France.

Do you help with the harvest there?
Yes, my family own a vineyard in Champagne (R.H. Coutier, Ambonnay) and I help with the harvest there each year. I have lots of experience with harvesting and wine making.

How did you discover the opportunity to work at Hambledon this year?
A friend told me about the Hambledon harvest last year and I decided to get involved this October. My friend introduced me to Hervé Jestin, Head Winemaker at Hambledon and one of the most talented oenologists in Champagne. Hervé then put me in touch with Hambledon and from there we formed a connection. I began working for Hambledon at their grape Harvest time, the 4th week of October.

Do you plan to come back next year to work our harvest? Yes/No and why?
I hope so! Yes I expect I will come back for next year’s harvest.

Because I have really enjoyed it this year. It’s been hard work but I am beginning to see it pay off as the wine is being made, which is one of the best parts of harvest.

What do you enjoy most about the harvest – visiting England, making friends, seeing the finished product etc.?
We have a great wine making team here, we have a laugh together but also work very hard. I love making wine, it’s amazing seeing it all come together. From the soil to the grapes, to the pressing, to the sparkling wine in its finished bottle. I love the whole process. To me, it’s magic.