FINDING THE THE PERFECT TIME FOR HARVEST
The date beginning harvest typically falls within a range of only about a week, but choosing the right moment to pick is vital to crafting the perfect wines. “We might aim for the first week of August, but it might be the last few days of July or a few days after the beginning of August,” says Laura.
Choosing the right time to start harvest is both a science and an art, a combination of careful chemistry and a human aspect that includes grape tasting and a little of the intuition that comes with years of experience in our vineyards.
Finding the right moment to pick grapes for sparkling wines begins with monitoring sugar levels in the berries. For sparkling wines, you want higher acidity and lower sugar content compared to still wine berries, so this timing is key to our blends.
“We start monitoring the sugar level around mid-July,” explains Laura. “And then that will give us an idea, depending on the weather and what's happening at that time, when we can start harvesting.”
As we get closer to the potential harvest, we go from testing grape samples weekly to twice a week. Still, ultimately the decision is made by Winemaking Director Pauline Lhote, pulling from her past expertise with these vineyards.
Pauline goes into the vineyard with the team to observe and taste the grapes herself before making the call on when to begin harvesting to maintain the high quality we demand.
“Chemistry is a sample of the vineyard, not the whole picture. You need to taste and look at the grapes and consider multiple factors,” says Laura. “And that takes years to master, if not a lifetime.”
WHEN THE TIME TO HARVEST ARRIVES
In our next installment, we’ll explore the activities of harvest and why we pick our grapes at night in this crucial step for creating exceptional sparkling wines.