This must be the most exciting and rewarding time of the year!
Walking through the vineyards at daybreak, seeing the pickers moving through the rows cutting perfectly ripe bunches of grapes, the tractor and trailer collecting the filled crates and delivering them to the cellar.
Where we immediately pack these crates on pallets and drive them into the cold room. Even though we harvest as early and as quickly as we can, we keep the grapes cool after picking.
This year has thus far been one of a kind – I have never experienced such an early harvest at Mont Destin before. We are picking 2-3 weeks earlier than last year. Our Grenache and Shiraz are already fermenting!
This early harvest has been caused by a wet and cold winter, a relatively warmer August than normal, and a dry summer until now.
The quality of the grapes look superb – the berries are small and the flavours concentrated and fresh.
Which brings me to the question I am often asked: When do you know when the right time is to pick your grapes?
We look at the chemical analysis of the juice; and we assess the pips, skin and taste of the grapes.
I walk through each block selecting grapes from different parts of the bunches spread out evenly throughout the block. These grapes I press into juice and measure the sweetness and the acid levels. I taste some grapes and feel the skins and look at the pips. If the pips are brown and the skin (in red grapes) gives colour as you rub them, these are all good signs.
If all these results are looking good then we go for it! It makes no sense to let grapes hang longer on the vines if it adds nothing to the quality of the grapes.
We will passionately create the best wines we can in 2015 and look forward to sharing them with you.