Let us take you step by step through the production process, taking Mont Vully Bio as an example, starting with the delivery of the milk and ending with the mature cheese.
Every morning at 7:30 the milk is delivered by Müller & Sahli Bio-Milch, an organic dairy farm which also adheres to the strict guidelines of Bio Suisse. Incidentally, only milk from cows fed exclusively on grass and hay is used for our cheeses. This milk is known as silage-free. If milk from cows fed with silage was to be used, there would be a risk that the cheese would not mature properly and quality would be compromised.
First of all, the milk is carefully tested. Then it is stored in our tanks before being made into cheese, but never longer than 48 hours.
The tested, fresh, raw milk is thermised, i.e. heated for 20 seconds at 66°C. Thermisation serves to eliminate undesirable bacteria without destroying the desired ‘good’ bacteria. The latter are extremely important for the maturing process, flavour and texture.
We then add lactic acid bacteria (cultures) and rennet to the milk. Rennet is an enzyme which makes the milk curdle. After about 40 minutes the liquid milk has coagulated. Next this solidified milk mass is cut up and shredded with a wire ‘harp’. Its texture now resembles cottage cheese (and is indeed the first step towards making cottage cheese as you know it). The curds are then heated to approx. 40°C and the whey is drained off before being carefully transferred to moulds. Lastly, the cheeses are marked with the grape imprint, the organic ‘bud’ signet, the date and dairy’s ID number.
The wheels of cheese are then left to soak in brine for 24 hours.
Next comes the refining and maturing process: the wheels mature in a cellar at a temperature of 12 -16°C and are carefully washed with saltwater and Pinot Noir several times a week.
Classique and Bio are left to mature for at least 10 weeks, the Réserve for at least 25 weeks.