September brings with it a bountiful harvest. “Since late August we have been preparing the land and getting ready for the most important time of the year,“ says Ana de Castro, the Club’s oenologist.
Harvest, which officially kicked off at the end of August, will this year take place at the La Caldera wine estate.
We are sampling different grapes from different clusters, and the taste is between sweet and tart.” This process allows The Wine & Country Club’s technical team to ensure that the grapes are at their peak sugar and acid levels to produce the best possible wine. So, often on just a few days’ notice, it is all hands on deck to ensure that the grapes are picked at the right time.
The chemical part of the process, which encompasses several tests performed in the winery, reveals the quality and condition of the grapes. “The tests show the levels of acidity and sugar in the grapes, which indicate the degree of alcohol. The more sugar, the higher the alcohol content.”
However, the secret to a good harvest is to follow these steps manually, in the most traditional way. “For us, sampling the grapes is far more important than the tests run in the winery. Grapes are ripe and ready to harvest when they are rich in colour, juicy, full-flavoured, easily crushed but not shrivelled, and plump. They should be tightly attached to the stems. When sampling the grapes to ascertain the level of sweetness and acidity, we also pay close attention to the skin tannins and the maturity of the seeds.” In short, although tests are useful to scientifically confirm the best chemical status of the grapes, nothing compares to the wise and expert hands of the wine-making team.
Grape Harvest At The Wine & Country Club Explained
The secret to The Wine & Country Club’s wine harvest is fourfold:
- Grapes are always cut by hand
- Harvest at the estates will extend over approximately two to three months, until the end of October, or even the beginning of November
- A team of approximately 8 pickers—depending on the amount of grapes to pick and handle—works through the different varieties
- With each of the different varieties ripening at slightly different times, our team staggers the picking on the various estates across separate days
Once picked, our grapes are boxed—we use 7 to 16 kg cardboard boxes and crates lined with clean, dry straw; we separate bunches with straw or sawdust and check often for spoilage—and loaded onto a lorry and driven directly to the winery. They are stored there in cool rooms at a temperature of 5 degrees before being processed.
While there is still a long way to go until everything is safely in the winery and substantial comments can be made about the vintage, there is undoubtedly a lot of fruit around and a clear air of optimism among growers at The Wine & Country Club. In a follow up post we will continue to detail the process, the different stages, and other oddities about this time of year, which is so special for Ana de Castro and her team.
The grape harvest will yield a substantial number of bottles of personal wine labels, much like the ones you can produce when becoming the proud owner of one of the wine producing estates available at The Wine & Country Club. Do you have your heart set on a particular one? You can view all the estates here. And if you are still in doubt, the best thing you can do is to come and visit us and experience firsthand what your new life could be like. We look forward to welcoming you at Lugar Partido Rural los Frontones 86, Ronda, Malaga (Spain).