Autumn harvest

The late arrival of summer, with cold temperatures for much of the year, influences the ripening of the grapes, which has led to a later harvest.

Thus, in a late year such as 2013, we find wines with lower alcohol content and fresher, i.e. with better acidity.

HarvestHarvest time is the most important period in wineries. Between September and October, it is essential for the final result to find the exact moment of ripening of each type of grape in order to obtain the maximum yield and, therefore, a quality wine.

Grape ripening normally takes place between the end of August and mid-October, always depending on the temperature of the year and the type of grape. In order to know the ripening point of the grapes, it is necessary to perform a series of analyses of acidity, sugar and polyphenols for each type of grape before beginning the harvest. Formed by the skin, which provides tannins, pigments and aroma, and the pulp, which provides water, sugars and acids, the optimal composition for grape ripening is to find the balance of all these elements.

Vintage_FAntiguaIn general, red wines can be harvested when they have a perfect balance between acidity and sugar; sweet wines, on the other hand, are best harvested when the grapes are loaded with sugars; and for sparkling wines, it is best to harvest before they are ripe, as they are more acidic wines.

Harvest at Familia Martínez Bujanda. The grapes are harvested individually and differently in each of the wineries. This year, due to the cold weather, including June, there has been a delay in ripening in all the wineries. For warmer farms such as Finca Antigua or Finca Montepedroso, This has been an advantage for the quality of the wines, and for the later estates, such as Valpiedra Estate o Bujanda Vineyard will result in wines with higher acidity and lower alcohol content, i.e., with greater finesse and elegance.

1265599_529549903795075_1680030365_oAt Finca Valpiedra, the harvest began on September 26 and is expected to finish in mid-October. At Finca Valpiedra the grapes are harvested by hand, and as these are single vineyard wines, the harvest and fermentation process must be very careful and closely monitored by the Regulatory Council of the D.O. Ca. Rioja.

Finca Antigua began its harvest on September 9 with its earliest variety, Muscat. For this type of grape, the technique of sunbathing or raisining is used, which consists of dehydrating the grapes by exposing them to the sun. In this way, the action of the sun concentrates both the sugars and the acidity, which has a positive effect on the quality of the wine, since the acidity ensures that a sweet wine is not cloying. By mid-October, Finca Antigua expects to finish the harvest with the later varieties, such as Petit verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

vintage_FAntiguaAt Finca Montepedroso, in the Rueda DO, harvesting began this week, at night, taking the utmost care and pampering of the white Verdejo grape variety used to make Finca Montepedroso, which is a little more delicate than the red varieties. Harvesting at night allows the grapes to enter the winery cooler, thus avoiding possible oxidation.

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