How 50 Kg Chardonnay grapes becomes 600 Kg

In this next to last video in a series following a day of the 2011 Champagne harvest for Champagne Henriet-Bazin, we see crate after crate of Chardonnay grapes being loaded on to a specially-constructed metallic palette.

Each crate weighs 50 Kg, and once fully-loaded, each palette will weigh a total of 600 Kg!

12 crates in all. That's 3 crates high!

That's a lot of grapes!

Once the palette is fully-loaded, a tractor will move the palette on to the back of a flatbed truck, for transport directly to the press room.

The reason for the max weight of each crate is 50 Kg, is to avoid the risk of an unwanted first fermentation beginning, due to the pressure, otherwise known locally as "auto-pressure".

As the first fermentation is not to take place until post-pressing (in the old days by foot, but today by a special hydraulic pressing machine), it would begin to taint the flavour and colour (predominantly only though a problem which occurs with "red-skinned" grapes, such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) of the grape juice as the amount of time the juice is in contact with the skin would exceed what is otherwise intended by the producer.