Grape Harvest at Podere Conca: as Usual Handled with Accurateness and Enthusiasm by Our All-Female Team
We are ready: at Podere Conca grape harvest 2019 has started
The sun has not risen yet, but the light behind Bolgheri hills is already bright. Paola, the head of vineyard works at Podere Conca, jolts on the holes of the unpaved road to the vineyards. The trailer of the tractor is full of red boxes. Empty… but not for long: this is the first day of grape harvest..
Paola gets off the tractor, controls that everything is in place and slips among the rows to give out the boxes. The others will arrive in a short time with scissors in the hand, ready to harvest the by now ripe grapes. The grape harvest is handmade at Podere Conca.
This year Paola is satisfied: the hard work in the vineyards during the season is almost done and the dark purple grapes, with their small and round shape, hang from branches among the green leaves.
The first grape variety harvested is Ciliegiolo. Its grapes are lightly larger than the other varieties, but the still young plants have not produced many grapes, indeed it is not useful to thin them out. Sometimes we must reluctantly remove some bunches in summer, when they are still green, to “tone down” a plant with a too exuberant production. It is called green harvest, just because the bunches are still unripe. In this way we guarantee the right ripening to the grapes and the right balance between acidity and sugars.
This year this was unnecessary, and we can harvest all our Ciliegiolo grapes. The analysis before harvest lets us hope for the best: sugars and acidity are well-balanced. The rest will be made at the cellar.
Paola is curious: she has always worked with vineyards and olive groves, but this year our new cellar is taking shape, and she will see and share also what occurs after grape harvest, when the grapes in the boxes will start a new step of their life.
The trailer has been loaded up; she can start. It jumps again on the holes and turns into the provincial road. Once arrived at the cellar, the other girls are waiting for her… well, they are the same that before were at the vineyards, but they have reached the cellar more quickly by car.
The boxes are unloaded into the destemmer and the grapes fall on the sorting conveyor belt, which conveys them to the crusher rollers. During this path the grapes are sorted and chosen by hand. Green grapes are excluded, and if there are some leaves or stalks, they are removed too. All this is made with high attention, but the joyful and light-hearted atmosphere of grape harvest remains in the air.
The grapes fall on the rollers, which slightly press them that will be opened without crushing. At first sight the grapes seem to be the same than before. Then a pump and some pipes convey them into a vat, where the fermentation will start and where they will remain for about one month.
Now, we must clean and put everything in order, like after a beautiful dinner with friends, when plates and tableware can be are in plain sight in the kitchen. But in this case the table must be set again because tomorrow is a new day of grape harvest.