Monday, September 13, 2010

Harvest 2010 Day 4 - Little boxes

I made a very casual comment on Saturday about the fact that it had been a busy day, without realising that it had been our busiest day since the huge 2006 harvest. It is a real tribute to our team, both in the vineyards and the bodega, that the day passed so smoothly - processing a huge amount of grapes in a well-ordered and timely fashion.

So, after one day of inactivity on Sunday (we decided that certain vineyards might actually benefit from one further day of sun), we re-launched the campaign on a bright, sunny Monday morning.

Picking normally starts at around 9.30am in our vineyards, despite the sun coming up at 8am - and the reason? Well, at this time of year there can be a bit of dew in the early morning, so we simply allow a little time for the grapes to dry off. Apart from this our people pick until 7.30pm, so even with a leisurely lunch break, it is still a very long day out in the sun.

Of course the secret of a successful harvest is logistics, and today we got off to a great start. By mid-morning we were loading the first press, and managed to get a couple done even before our short lunch break (the break in the bodega is usually much shorter, and I'm not quite sure why). This makes an enormous difference to our whole day, especially if we can keep this early momentum going. There is never a queue of grapes waiting to be loaded, and they pretty much go straight from the delivery vehicle into the presses. Of course this can make a huge difference to a fresh, fruity white wine like ours as any possible fruit oxidation is our enemy!

Ah! Now I remember, the subject of today's post, my little boxes..... The boxes that you see neatly lined up outside the bodega are full of 'bagazo' (grape skins and stems from the presses). These are collected on a daily basis, not by the refuse men, but by the distillery who covert it into aguardiente for us (grappa or eau-de-vie, depending on where you live). Until a few years ago we used to do this on site, but a change in the law now prohibits us from doing this under the same roof as our wine making - again, don't ask me why!

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