With the month of September in the middle of the year, it is time to harvest the grapes in our Barcolobo winery. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, this process is the most important moment in the elaboration of a wine. Therefore, it becomes a stressful season for farmers, winegrowers and winemakers. The time of harvesting will depend on the decision of the latter, and we must always try to ensure that it takes place at the optimum time of the berry, which in turn depends on the desired wine style.
In our case, the technical team led by our winemaker Ramiro Carbajo, goes through the vineyard daily, collecting significant samples to evaluate the physiological and phenolic maturation of the grapes. During this collection, the concentration of sugars, acidity, pH and phenolic and aromatic compounds of the varieties are analyzed.
Once the date of the harvest has been decided, the work begins! The first step is to prepare the winery. To do this, the equipment that will be in contact with the fruit is sanitized: the boxes in which the bunches are deposited during the harvest, the press, the hoses, the tanks, the barrels, the scissors used to cut the bunches, etc. Hygiene is a very important part of maintaining the quality of the product.
Among the vineyards
After finishing this task, we go to the vineyard. For this, a team of harvesters is hired and the desired quality is explained to them. Harvesting is done by zones, taking into account the most mature quarters and varieties; these will be the ones to be harvested first.
At Barcolobo the grapes are harvested manually in small 15kg boxes first thing in the morning. Why? Well, because we want the grapes to be fresh; and this avoids microbial activity, which increases with temperature. In addition, the cold skin is harder and more resistant to breakage (entry of microorganisms that can alter aromas/flavors).
Handpicking allows for better selection and less damage to the bunches. Afterwards, the boxes are transported every few days to the winery. One of the most important factors in maintaining the quality of the grapes is to minimize the transport time between the vineyard and the winery. This avoids fermentation and oxidation, which are detrimental to quality.
And once all the boxes arrive at the winery, the task of harvesting the Barcolobo grapes proper, i.e., picking, is finished. Now, and depending on the style of wine to be produced, the tasks that follow are different. Stay tuned, we will tell you soon!