The lead into the 2011 harvest has been strange. Everything seems to have been early. The almond blossom was in early January as mild winter weather led plants to think spring had come. There was also lot of blossom on fruit trees only for it to be blown away with high winds, so very little apricot and green plums. Late rains then continued into June which led to mildew on the vines.
We had sulphered but this year as usual but downy mildew took its toll and stopped leaf and vine growth in its tracks. The tempranillo was more or less wiped out but the syrah was okay and had reasonable grape growth. We have learned this year that we should use Bordeaux mixture, here it is called ‘Caldo Bordeles’ to stop downy mildew. The sulphur is to stop powdery mildew.
We like to harvest near the full moon when it is waxing gibbous. The best date was the 10th August and the brix levels in the grapes that we had were on average 20.
So at 5.30 we started cutting having laid out tables and work areas on the terrace and washed down all the buckets and basins and prepared our new destemmer or ‘despalilladora’ as it is called in spanish.
Friends arrived to help, being put into teams of cutters, carriers and table sorters. We did not have so many grapes and the new machine made easy work of destemming which last year had taken up so much time. By 9.00 it was all done with maybe only 200 litres in the fermenting tank. A big disappointment when we were expecting 1500 litres, but a lesson that nature can be fickle.
We cleared away all the buckets and had a harvest breakfast of hot sausage and bacon rolls washed down with bucks fizz, then some beer. Tortilla, cold meats, cheeses and prawns did the round of the table until all were full and ambled off ‘muy contento’!
Thanks to all who helped namely Carl & Jill, Carmen, Christine, David, Sarah & Antonio, Ikuku, Jenny & Einar, Jim & Louise, Julia & Gordon, Paco, Penny, Thiery & Breda & Alannah.
The last word goes to Molly, our lost and found basset hound. She found it all too much and just laid down and fell asleep!