Harvest 2011

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Santiago
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Harvest 2011

Post by Santiago » Sun 18 Sep 2011 12:29

Some notes on the 2011 grape harvest for those interested....

All year people have been talking about an early harvest but it turned out to be the latest start of any year since I came here in 2006. We started with Muscat on 29 Aug. The Aspres region had hail damage 4 weeks before the start of harvest but we managed to save a lot of the fruit by a well-timed fungicide, 3 days of Tramontane and very rigorous selection of grapes (we pick by hand). The yields were higher than usual so even though we lost about 50% of the fruit, it was still a reasonable amount.

After that the weather turned very hot. In fact so hot that the vines actually slowed down their ripening. Then everything ripened at once and we picked Grenache, Syrah,and Mourvedre constantly from the 12th to the 15th. It was so hot that picking after 12:00 was only for crazies.

Yields have been good, perhaps even too high for growers who apply lots of fertiliser. Quality is also good. So all-in-all it has been a good harvest so far.
Last edited by Santiago on Sun 18 Sep 2011 17:31, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Sue » Sun 18 Sep 2011 12:47

Im lost on this posting. Its headed 2011 and then talks about 2001 and finally picking was started on 29th September but its only the 18th now. Am I missing something!!!
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Post by Helen » Sun 18 Sep 2011 13:00

Santiago, I'm curious to know more about your last sentence when you wrote about 'yield'. What happens if the yield is too great?





P.S. After the physical toll of harvesting, I'm not surprised the odd typo crept in Sue :)

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Post by Colin L » Sun 18 Sep 2011 13:18

Heatstroke?

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Post by Sue » Sun 18 Sep 2011 13:27

It must be a back breaking task that I wouldnt wish to take on!!
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Post by Santiago » Sun 18 Sep 2011 17:36

Well spooted Sue. I meant 29 Aug. Have changed it now. Couldn;t find any reference to 2001 though.

Helen, what happens when the yield is too high is that the grapes don't ripen enough. This results in dilute wines for whites and stemmy-tasting wines in reds.

Today's rain means we are waiting until things have dried out before recommencing. I'm sure you'll see some growers picking tomorrow to take advantage of the extra weight added by the water :shock:


I have Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan and Muscat (for vin doux) left to pick and should be finished by next weekend.
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Post by Sue » Sun 18 Sep 2011 18:48

Well someone must have changed it cause I definitely spooted it!!
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Harvest 2011

Post by BT » Sun 18 Sep 2011 19:26

Hi Santiago,

Great to hear that the harvest is going well.

I was in 66 in early July, didn't think it was as warm as previous years.

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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Sun 18 Sep 2011 20:20

Sue wrote:Well someone must have changed it cause I definitely spooted it!!

Jon said he changed it, and I saw it too , so your not going mad.. :lol:
Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can't change.
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Post by Moore » Sun 18 Sep 2011 21:35

Hello Santiago,
Fascinating to read the information you provide about the cultivation of a crop we all take so much pleasure from.
As far as I remember from the local newspaper harvesting of muscat de rivesaltes started in the first few days of august, why did your picking of the same grape variety not start until the 29th?
Also, losing 50% of a crop would devastate growers of other products eg apricots, cherries etc, but you are still happy with your yield, given you have an accurate litres/hectare expectation year to year how can this be the case?
My last question is, what is your opinion on bag in box wine, would you consider doing it? From the consumers point of view it is good value plus much more eco friendly in terms of packaging per litre.

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Post by Santiago » Mon 19 Sep 2011 11:46

Moore wrote:Hello Santiago,
Fascinating to read the information you provide about the cultivation of a crop we all take so much pleasure from.
As far as I remember from the local newspaper harvesting of muscat de rivesaltes started in the first few days of august, why did your picking of the same grape variety not start until the 29th?
They would have been harvesting for Muscat sec at the start of Aug, Muscat de Rivesaltes needs much riper grapes. The reason would be that the vines ripen at different rates depending on the precise climate and aspect of the vineyard. The hot plains around Rivesaltes are good for making sweet Muscat but too hot to make good dry Muscat - hence the best dry Muscats made here are from cooler, more elevated vineyards.
Also, losing 50% of a crop would devastate growers of other products eg apricots, cherries etc, but you are still happy with your yield, given you have an accurate litres/hectare expectation year to year how can this be the case?
Not convinced about that for apricots and peaches. Have you ever seen how much fruit is dropped from the fruit trees just 1-2 weeks from picking in order to get the rest to ripen and swell?

Yields vary from year to year. My average yield for Muscat has been about 30hl/ha. This year, without the hail, the yield would have been about 55hl/ha. I actually got 32hl/ha in the end so the volume of wine I made is around normal for me. The people who are upset are the coop growers who would have had larger incomes if the hail had not wiped out their bumper crop. You also have to understand that as an independent winery, I can add value to my grapes and I don't rely purely on volume. As I tell my pickers, "Adding 5% crappy grapes to the cases won't make me 5% more money, it will lose me 25% because the wine won't be as good - throw them away!"
My last question is, what is your opinion on bag in box wine, would you consider doing it? From the consumers point of view it is good value plus much more eco friendly in terms of packaging per litre.
Bag in box would be my recommendation for people who want the best value everyday drinking wine. Why waste money on bottles and then have to take them to the recycling?

But to answer your second question, I have considered it and decided not to. The reason being that I prefer to make wines which improve with age or which are a cut above everyday drinking (for most people). You can't age wine in BIB. I have a limited production of wine so I try to make the best wine I can rather than finding a better way to shift the volume.
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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Mon 19 Sep 2011 15:15

Jon, I am sure I must have asked this before, but can't find it anywhere.

If it states that acceptable drinking limits are: 14 units for females and 21 units for men, does that differ on the volume of wine. i.e. If I drank 12% volume as appose 14% volume, is there a difference?
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Post by Santiago » Mon 19 Sep 2011 19:37

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Mon 19 Sep 2011 23:06

Santiago wrote::lol: :lol: :lol:

Is that reply to me??
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Post by polremy » Mon 19 Sep 2011 23:51

maybe :lol: :lol: = 12%
and :lol: :lol: :lol: = 14%

(one makes you happier than the other peut-etre)

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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Tue 20 Sep 2011 08:53

polremy wrote:maybe :lol: :lol: = 12%
and :lol: :lol: :lol: = 14%

(one makes you happier than the other peut-etre)
Thanks Pol, that explains it lovely thank you... :lol:

(Hope your ok x )
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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Tue 20 Sep 2011 19:00

A 750 ml bottle of 12% abv wine contains 9 units.


A 750 ml bottle of 14.5% abv wine contains 10.88 units.


Some port wines may contain 20% abv or more, which is 15 units of alcohol per bottle.
Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can't change.
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