the estate

the Vineyard
the Winery
the Harvest

Without doubt the best time of year! Ever since I was young I have always loved the anticipation and excitement that comes before and during harvest, especially on great years, which we’ve had a few of this decade. We start looking at the vineyards in early September with the first rounds of analysis and tasting. Here we start to get an idea of how the year has progressed, but there is always a long way to go as the weather at this point can ruin or make a harvest. It is the waiting that is the most stressful part, wondering if you’ve made the right call for harvesting dates. We always get a small team of volunteers out from England, family and friends, who come for the final rays of sunshine and the great food. They are always eager to start picking but sometimes I have to make them wait until the time is right.

Luckily I have a fantastic consultant in Bertrand Sutre, a very well respected viticulturist who works for many top Chateau such as Ausone in St Emilion. Every week he comes to taste and talk about berry development and potential picking dates, which seems to change every week because of the weather. His knowledge is fantastic and I have learnt a lot from him over the years.

The first day is always the best, people are full of energy and all the hard work over the year ends with every snip of the secateures. Needless to say it is hard work, but a 2 hour 5 course lunch every day helps keep spirits high and a spot of wine keeps smiles on faces.

harvest group

Because of our small 4.2 Ha spread over 7 vineyards we can pick small parcels when at perfect ripeness. We then only pick in the morning when the temperature is cool and then process the fruit in the afternoon in the cool of the cellar. This way everyone gets to do every part of the process and we keep the fruit at a perfect temperature.

Picking can take anything between 2-3 weeks and although a lot of fun, I am always relieved when the last fruit is in the cellar and cannot be damaged by the elements. I can then concentrate on the winemaking and make sure I turn our years hard work into something truly special.