How cognac is made and tested for quality. c 1973
Documentary about the processes involved in making Cognac brandy. There are two versions of this film both are colour faded. Check other records. Sound is currently missing for the 'celebration' version, but exists for some sections of this one - very scratched.
"Made under the auspices of the Brandy Shippers Association." Map of France showing the location of Cognac. Aerial shot of Cognac. M/S of old building - possibly the distillery. High angle shot of the town of Cognac. Panning shot of French landscape including vineyards. High angle shot of two workers trimming the tops off grape vines. C/U of vines being pruned, bent and tied. C/U of man cutting a piece of vine branch then splicing it together with another piece. The two pieces are tied together. C/U of the cuttings being placed in a furrow in the ground. Commentator explains that a French and American vine are grafted together to make the vines immune to a pest that originates in America.
Shots of the vines being sprayed with insecticides or pesticides - copper sulphate. Various shots of the grape harvest. Good C/Us of men cutting bunches of grapes off the vine and loading up their baskets. M/S of a young boy crouching by a grape vine picking off the fruit and eating it. Horse drawn cart is loaded up with bunches of grapes. Man carries a metal container on his back full of grapes. He climbs up a ladder and tips the grapes into a large barrel. Women work at the vines with the men. One of the women hands out very large bottles of wine. Various shots of the workers taking a swig from the bottle. One man holds the bottle above his mouth and pours the liquid in from on high. Horse pulls a cart full of grapes. Horse and cart enter a courtyard. The horse is made to walk backwards so that the grapes can be tipped into a special container. C/U of the grapes being pushed down into the hold. Quintessential "vendage" shots.
Still image of two grape presses. C/U of lid of the press slowly being lowered onto the grapes. C/U of side of the press as liquid is squeezed out. Panning shot of an old fashioned distillery (looks like a drawing or possibly a still.) M/S of man loading a furnace. Panning shot of distilling equipment. takes out a small measure of brandy to test it. He takes a sip then spits it out. (Gap of 27 seconds between reels.)
Reel 2. Barrel making section. Various shots of men planing wood for the barrels. Man stands and fits together all the slats which make up the barrel. Another man places metal bands over the slats to force it closed. He then uses a hammer to force the bands down around the barrel. A primitive vice is used to close the slats. Various shots of man using a hand tool to finish off the inside of the barrel. Barrels are rolled onto carts and are then pulled along a country road. C/U of water dripping into a metal trough. Still of men at work in the distillery filling up barrels. C/U of man filling barrel from a tap. L/S of barrels being rolled off a lorry and into a storage area. Barrels stacked in a warehouse. Two men perform tests on a sample of brandy. C/U of moustachioed man smelling the brandy. High angle shot of the distillery. Lorry loaded with boxes drives away from the camera. Various shots of boxes of Cognac being moved around the docks on trolleys. Boxes are stacked. A customs official or possibly a gendarme checks the boxes. C/U of man in a beret directing the loading of boxes. Load of boxes is lowered onto a cargo ship. L/S of boxes being pushed towards the ship. L/S of the boat in dock.