Preparing for Vintage 2022 – Part 2
Grapes are like honoured guests in the winery. When the first lot arrives in a couple weeks from now, the team need to be ready to give them the welcome they deserve.
One of our biggest challenges is that grapes of the same variety all tend to reach optimum condition for harvest at the same time. Even between varieties, the difference is not that great - no more than a few weeks - and because we want to harvest every bunch of grapes when it’s at its very best, that means that our winery has to be ready to accept a lot of fruit, in a very short period of time. Everything has to run smoothly – not just because it’s stressful enough when a year’s worth of work and production arrives at your doorstep all at once, but because we want to be able to preserve every bit of flavour and quality we get from the vineyard.
In the last weeks before harvest starts, everything undergoes a deep clean, from the grape receival bins to the presses, conveyors and tanks. Being mindful of waste, we try to use as little water as possible, applying it at high pressure for maximum cleaning power. All cooling systems and machines are checked to make sure they’re working as they should, and the team ensure the winery is as empty as possible - especially the fermentation tanks and barrels - so there is room to receive the new crop as it begins its winemaking journey.
Of course, you need dedicated people at every step of the winemaking process, so we’ve added staff to make sure there’s always a watchful eye and caring hand to guide our grapes on their journey to becoming the best wine they can be.
Every vintage brings its own challenges and joys. And as new vineyard blocks come into production, it’s always exciting to see the quality of the fruit and wine that arrives. This year, our Tetley Brook C block in Marlborough has finished its three-year transition to being fully organic, and we’re eager to see the results.
Vintage 2022 is on its way, watch this space!