How do we make it?
We live and work in London, so even though Justin goes to and from Maury 7-8 times a year, we are very lucky to have the help of brilliant winemakers Richard Case and Jean-Marc Lafage. The next section explains how our wine is made:
All of the grapes that are used for Domaine of the Bee are harvested by hand into small boxes, and delivered to the winery door.
Here, the grapes are removed from the stalks, and gently crushed, before being pumped into fermentation tanks. The juice and skins are inoculated with selected strains of yeast, and the fermentation begins.
The best parcels of Grenache from the Coume de Roy and Bac de Genievres are fermented in 500 Litre new oak barrels, stood on their ends, with the heads taken out. This small-batch fermentation is both more risky, and more time-consuming, but the integration of oak character, and the gentle pushing down of the cap, rather than the rougher pumping over both combine to give a softer extraction of tannin and colour.
The rest of the Grenache from Bac de Genievres and the Carignan from La Roque are fermented in stainless steel tanks.
The temperature of fermentation can be controlled a little by lowering water-cooled plates (like radiators in reverse) into the wine, but otherwise the amount of intervention is very low.
Once the fermentation is completed, the wine is allowed to macerate with the skins of the grapes for a further 2-3 weeks, to continue building the tannin extraction, and then the finished wine is drained off into barrels.
The wine-soaked skins are loaded into a small basket press, where the remaining wine is gently pressed out of them, and the dry pomace is composted to be spread on the vineyards later in the year.
Domaine of the Bee is aged in 225 Litre and 500 Litre barrels, approximately 1/3 of which are new, 1/3 1 year old, and 1/3 2 year old. The wine spends between 14-18 months in barrel, before being blended, bottled, shipped and released for sale.