Our first harvest is in, has been made into wine and is now, as of today, in barrel!!! I for one am really proud, and particularly of Pumpjack for all the hard work he did, through out the year, to make the vineyard produce something we could actually harvest. Twelve hour days, 7 days a week, along with a bit of blood, huge amounts of sweat, and not a few (of my own) tears may not be everyone’s glass of wine, but at least we can call the wine ours.
We had a lovely couple of days for the harvest of our 1.5 recovering vineyard. Not too hot, not too sunny and with Maggie, our duck, helping with morale, keeping us herded us together if we strayed too far and taking her role of Chief Grape Tester very seriously, it made the long days pass quicker.
What do I mean by recovering, well some of the photos will tell you (particularly the Chardonnay vines), but basically it meant we were never going to get a large crop of grapes. All we could hope for was a good one. Many of the vines are dead and will need replacing, disease had been rampant for years which meant fighting an uphill battle, and the soil has little or no drainage, which we have begin to tackle. We figure about 3 more years and it may be a fully functioning vineyard, but in the meantime – we’ll consider our 2015 harvest a limited edition success.
Although we have 1.5 hectares, say roughly the size of a football pitch, with each row having about 60 vines it only took 4 of us about a day and a half to harvest all the grapes. We figure the vineyard gave us about 1/8, if that, of its potential capacity. Still we are happy with the resulting wine. We now have a barrel of very tasty Pinot Noir amounting to approximately 300 bottles and another of about 70 bottles of what we thought was Pinot Meunier and now think is Pinot Gris which has been made into an absolutely delicious rosé.
As for the Chardonnay… There were only enough grapes to fill a few buckets, which amounted to about 5 litres of juice. I gather from Pumpjack it has made an ‘interesting’ wine, said with a grimace. Looks like the Chardonnay vines will need quite a bit more work to get them producing something we can actually make something out of.
The recovery of the vineyard is not just about the vines, but also the winery and the paperwork. We’re slowly making the winery become better functioning. We bought new seals for the tanks, as well as valves and a hose. No pump as yet, but Pumpjack came up with a gravity system to aid in the pump overs. The big bonuses this year were getting an actual tool for the punch down, rather than a Driving Iron golf club, and an iron rod for the old fashioned press, rather than a garden stick. We also optimistically bought 3 wooden oak barrels from further south in Burgundy. We’re forging our way through the (French) paperwork and we’ll clarify which grape the rosé is before we sell it (obviously a must before we are able to label it).
So all in all, we are quietly excited. We won’t be making our fortunes this year. It will be a slow process, for certain, with no short cuts available, but we are very pleased with the harvests results none-the-less. We had hoped for a high quantity, but are very happy with the quality.
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3 thoughts on “Our First Harvest (2015) – a limited edition success”
Well done, that is quite an achievement in your first year.
Thank you. It certainly feels like it. We’re truly pleased with the result. And now we have to get to grips with French Customs and Taxes. Meeting Monday. Fingers-crossed.