As the fruit is picked, it is placed by hand into to our specially sourced cagettes. The open sides of these cagettes allow for air circulation while their small size prevents the grapes from being crushed under their own weight, ensuring that the fruit is offered up from the vineyard in the best possible condition. The cagettes are then meticulously stacked for the brief journey to the winery, after which they are either placed in the cool-store or tipped immediately into the press. The entire process is performed by hand and each step is undertaken with the utmost care so as to preserve the quality of the fruit.
Coates & Seely have an atmosphere-controlled Bucher Inertys press, capable of holding four cubic metres of fruit, although
the hand-performed picking and loading process, basket by basket, means that barely a third of this nominal capacity is ever approached. The bunches are bathed entirely in nitrogen - the main, inert component of air - as are the channels and vessel into which the juice runs, thus ensuring a blanketing protection which completely internalises the whole operation. While the press itself can seem mysterious when looked at from the outside - seemingly the very opposite of a basket press - it is in fact every bit as gentle.
Rather than favouring a single medium for fermentation, another for maturation, or yet another for holding, a number of different wine vessels are used in the winemaking process, each of them highly - yet equally -
regarded. The flexibility which a combination of well-aged French oak barrels, sophisticated concrete eggs and variable capacity stainless steel tanks provides allows for the perfect allocation of grape variety to vessel throughout the wine-making process.
Perhaps the most important vessels of all in the process of the 'Méthode Britannique' are the individual bottles themselves. The mystery of second fermentation, autolysis, riddling, the refinement of aroma, flavour, texture, mousse and bead: all of these demand the meticulous care and attention of the winemaker, and are key to the quality of the final wine, which is a result of many precise and delicate operations during this stage of the wine's development. After this, ageing in bottle in our winery's
insulated bottle cellar allows the wine to develop and mature until the day we feel it is ready for release.
At Coates & Seely we have a team of highly experienced winemaking professionals, both from Champagne and further afield, who between them bring together a range of outstanding skills and specialisations.