Harvest report 2015 17, Nov 2015

Harvest - 2015 Chardonnay grapes

Our largest harvest yet.

This year’s harvest was a great success, not only did we pick a record number of grapes, the fruit was also excellent quality. The September sun ripened the fruit fast, the warm days coupled with the cold nights kept both the sugar and the acid levels high, which means our 2015 vintage is set to be another outstanding sparkling wine.

Harvest is incredibly exciting but also has its challenges: predicting the weather and optimal picking dates, logistics of getting huge amounts of grapes to the winery, and coping with pests. Birds have over the last few years been one of the biggest threats to our harvest and can eat up to 20% of our crop. This year we didn’t use any bird scarers up, no kites, eyes, balloons, owls, and in fact it turned out we didn’t need to as nature did the job for us. In mid-October we witnessed a sparrow hawk catching a starling mid-flight. On hearing their fellow starling’s distress calls the rest of the flock flew far far away and didn’t return.

Harvest is one of the most labour-intensive jobs of the year, this year we had an average of 12 people each day picking over 7 days. We could not have done this without the support and help from family and friends who all worked so hard to help pick this year’s bumper crop. Picking started the 10th October and finished on the 2nd November, harvesting over four weeks has led to a wide range of sugar and acid levels that give more blending options in the winery. We’re looking forward to tasting the base wines in the next few months, the blends will be decided next summer and the final wine will be available to buy in 2018.