Punch down the cap - How to pige wine

Pigeage is more than just a funny word with indecipherable vowel distribution. It’s a way of life. For weeks, all of our wines are going through an extended fermentation where the grapes and grape juice are turning into delicious red wine. This is a critical period known as maceration when the wine will draw its best qualities from the skin and the seeds in the tank. The undamaged grapes of harvest time impart their best qualities to the juice which will one day soon be fine wine.

But it’s not smooth sailing, my friends. The tanks we hold the grapes in contain 80 to 100 hectoliters (converted to nonmetric: a lot) of grapes. And the pristine purple marbles that fall into the vat are crushed and torn asunder by the chemical forces at work when yeasts ferment the juice. What’s more, there’s a byproduct to all this fermenting: CO2. The Carbon dioxide rises to the top of the vat like bubbles in soda and they will lift the majority of the skin and seeds to the top, forming a thick hard cap.

Two or three times a day depending on where we are in the fermentation (determined by measuring the density and temperature of the wine in the cuve). This is hard. It’s a struggle to push the grapes back down into the juice. Especially the first time. Especially the first hole. That first puncture is rough, but we’ve gotta’ do it!

I’ve been looking for excuses to push back the daily pigeage ritual to give my tired arms a rest. My finely tuned ability to procrastinate led me to make a video about pigeing. And now, in an effort to avoid the afternoon pige, I’m writing a blog post about pigeing.

Now you can learn the ins and outs. See the tools I use. Learn the theory and strategies that I usually ignore. You too can use this blog post as a way to not do the work you should probably be doing right now.

Behold punch downs:

Wine punch down – Pigeage

oh, music by Phunt Your Friends available for free download at songfight.org

How to find us

Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387

Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
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North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910

  1. Best by GPS.
    Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
  2. Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
  3. Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
  4. At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
  5. After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.