If you visit a French winery, you will, very often, hear the term “Chai”. But what is it?
The French word “Chai” refers to the ground-floor room where the winemaking processes are carried out (the word “cellier” is also used or, in certain French provinces, the word “cuverie”). The “Chai” must, to the greatest extent feasible, be protected from temperature changes, be capped or vaulted, and be below attics or other buildings. The walls must have small glazed openings that are not facing south. The “Chai” needs to be kept tidy at all times and free of anything that could mold or ferment (green wood, vinegar, etc.).