Friday, April 12, 2013

Harvest Update - Picking (at) the Right Time

Read this season's previous harvest updates: And It Begins, Nearly Through the Whites, Halfway Through Reds.

Harvesting grapes at the right time is essential to making good wine. Winemakers and viticulturists often disagree on the right time; as a winemaker, the flavors need to be developed to the right stage because if it's not going to make good wine, then what's the point? But like everything else in winemaking, there are always multiple factors that effect when the right time arrives.

This past week's harvest schedule was stacked due to heavy weather forecast to arrive this weekend; we were fortunate to get everything in as the rain began falling within a couple hours of the last truck arriving at the winery. Fortunately, all our blocks were sufficiently ripe and we were more than happy to be harvesting it all. In fact, we received three batches of Cabernet Sauvignon on Thursday, totaling approximately sixty tonnes and representing the very last fruit of vintage 2013 here at Vasse Felix!
While there is still plenty to be done, work should be a bit more relaxed over the coming weeks with fruit processing complete. Our focus will be keeping red ferments happy as they tick away and pressing off batches as they finish (photo above shows our premium red varietal fermentors, which range in size from 5-8 ton). Many of the premium batches will undergo extended maceration, the process of leaving wine on skins to allow for polymerization of phenolic compounds (to be discussed in a later post).

It seems like we've nearly forgotten about the whites since the red harvest kicked off, but of course we haven't. Along with tracking the few remaining ferments (a handful of wild-fermented batches and our Cut Cane Semillon batches are slowly finishing ferment now), we're continuing our heavy stirring regime on the Chardonnay batches, which won't stop for the next several months. The bottling line has also seen a few operational days this past week as we bottled some of our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.
Though the vineyards are fruitless now, I took this photograph last week before this block was harvested. I found it in one of our premium Cabernet Sauvignon blocks, doesn't it have a striking resemblance to a heart? Must be a happy vine pruner enjoying the labor of love...

No comments:

Post a Comment