The day of the harvest, this year the 27th August, had a feel of excitement like the first day of a holiday. The whole focus of a years work, from cutting and shaping to sulphering gently each plant by hand, culminates in one day. Hundreds of hours working in the vineyard poured into one day’s result. The grapes have been green harvested, any split or diseased grapes cut out, brix sugar levels assessed, grapes tasted, skins chewed and pips checked, all for one reason, a good harvest and then a good wine. That reason and work is tested on harvest day.
So up at 5am and checked that the buckets and containers are clean and ready. The destemmer, or as it is called here a despalilladora takes centre stage with the fermentation tanks at the end.
Our first helpers arrived at 6am and started cutting the lower vineyard, soon the grape containers were full. Just in time the rest of our helpers arrived at 7am and so all our teams were busy. 30 people helped, from cutting and carrying, to sorting and putting good bunches into the hopper of the destemmer.
By 10am we had finished. The 1,000 litre fermantation tank was nearly full and a 700 steel tank, also used for fermentation, was two thirds full, so maybe 1,400 litres of must. Fermentation started within a couple of hours with no added yeast or sugar, just the natural reaction of the fruit sugar with yeasts on the skins.
We cleaned away and set up the long table for a harvest breakfast, washed down with orange juice and cava, while the must burbled away alongside us.
Thanks to all who helped this year; Adrian & Linda, Becky, Carl & Jill, Carmen, Christine, David & Ros, David & Hilda, David & Helen and sons Harry & Matthew, Geoff & Fee, Ikuku, Jenn & Steve, John & Linda, John & Sharon and son Alex, Julia, Maurice & Gloria, Stuart, Thiery & Breda and daughter Alannah.