Harvest morning and the mist lies peacefully in the valley. All bodes well for the day. At 09:00 we descend down the vineyard to start the harvest in the mist – I’m more used to going up into mist!
Ivan, our mentor and boss, arranges everything and marshals the pickers. The overall quality of the grapes is good relative to what I have seen over the past 24 hours. Some of that is down to luck, some is down to terroir and some is down to the hard work put in during the Summer. Less leaf cover certainly helped keep some of the rot at bay as the air was able to circulate more freely around the bunches.
Overall though I’d estimate about 25% of the fruit is damaged by rot. Not too bad, but frustrating given the potential that the sunny days at the end of August held.
The big obstacle is the ripeness of the grapes we’re harvesting. Ideally the sugar levels should be higher, and although we’ve had some decent weather in the past week, for many of the grapes, the rot has caught hold and waiting any longer to harvest will only spoil more of the crop. Better to harvest now with as much “clean” fruit as possible.
For Sipon we’re getting 75 – 80 Oechsle from the free run juice, and for Riesling around 70 – 75. The press juice will be slightly lower as more bitter elements come into play. The ideal target in a good year is normally around 85 for a dry wine with about 12 degrees of alcohol, so realistically some chaptalisation will be necessary – but not as much as we feared.
As I write this, the press is working away outside……. time to go back and check……..