With the growing season almost three weeks ahead of last year, the harvest of our white grapes at Château Bauduc kicked off at the end of August. It wasn’t the easiest vintage, as we had four months of near-drought from March to early July and a tad too much rain from mid-July to the beginning of September. The summer was cool overall but at times it was very humid, which caused problems. In the end, after getting hands-on in the vines to sort the grapes, we’re pretty pleased with the result.
Here’s the story of the white harvest in photos. Click on an image to enlarge it.
Update, Summer 2012: if you’re in the UK and would like to sample the fruits of our labour, you can order the wine here.
As harvest approaches, we taste the grapes and take samples.
Juicing to measure sugar, acidity, PH and stuff I don’t fully understand.
With the warm and humid August weather, bastard rot had started.
Georgie enlisted some friends to come and stay, and help out.
We cut out any bunches with signs of rot after humid weather.
Bunches with rot are discarded. A waste after a year’s work but, hey…
Removal of bunches was the day before machine harvesting.
We employed 6 local seasonal workers for a week to check all rows.
Sauvignon Blanc grapes always seem to be packed tightly together.
Sauvignon Blanc about to be harvested in the dark.
Time to pick. We’ve hired the same man and his machines for 6 years.
We harvest the grapes at the coolest time of the day from 4.30am.
The machine straddles the row of vines. These rows are just 1.8m wide.
Plastic booms vibrate the vine, shaking grapes into the conveyor of cups.
Grapes are tipped from the two large hoppers into the trailer.
Advantages over handpicking include speed and picking before dawn.
These grapes, in the trailer, were destemmed by the machine.
Before the machine, with bunches on the vine.
After the machine, just the stems are left.
The vines surround the Château so the grapes are at our winery in minutes.
Straight from the trailer so grapes are cool, fresh with minimal oxidation.
From the trailer the grapes are pumped to a waiting stainless steel tank.
Into a chilled tank to macerate the juice with the skins for 12 hours.
All picked for the morning, time for coffee and a chocolatine.
Tom on the pneumatic press, which presses the skins with a giant airbag.
Keeping the right temperature for each tank for freshness and flavour.
A network of tubes above the tanks for temperature control.
We settle the juice in one tank before moving to another to cool ferment it.
We harvested the whites from the end of August to the start of September.
100,000 bottles from 11ha of Sauvignon & 4ha of Semillon, hopefully.