Harvest time is always exciting at the vineyard, and with the whites safely in the tank we have already started thinking about the reds. Th e forecast for the merlot is mid September and about 10 days later for the cabernet, again this is going to be about 2 weeks earlier than last year. We use a machine to pick the reds, they don’t require such gentle handling as the whites and with larger quantities it is logistically easier for us. The real bonus is that we can leave the grapes to the very last minute to get them as ripe as possible. We’ll be using out neighbours super duper new harvest machine, which now has integral cleaning and de-stemming so the grapes arrive in the chai in optimum condition.
Debourbage Yeast Harvest Machine
Now we are harvesting we are finally in a position to fully assess the frost damage. The white was largely unaffected. Of the reds, we have two parcelles of merlot, the first parcelle by the house and the pool (for those of you that have visited) is about 15% damaged at the lower end of the last 5 rows. The other parcelle of merlot (by the lane and facing our neighbours house) is about 80% damaged and we are as yet unsure of the ripeness of the grapes, we need to wait another week or so before testing to see if it worth picking at all and if it is we will probably do it by hand to ensure we get only the ripe grapes. The cabernet franc (by the drive) has about 20% damage and the cabernet sauvignon about 30% – for the two cabernets we will manually remove the unripe grapes before picking with the harvest machine.
Apart from the harvest is it fairly quiet in the vineyard at this time of year – the ground is as yet too hard to start preparing for next year and the grapes need leaving alone to finishing ripening.
The 2017 white has already started fermenting and we need to test the density and temperature every day to monitor the progression of the fermentation. Also in the chai we need to get the big red wine tanks clean and disinfected and check the rest of the harvest equipment is clean and in proper working order.
We also have a bottling on 22nd September of the 2015 Prestige, so still plenty to do!!