Familia Martínez Bujanda’s grape harvest begins

September is a harvest month in Familia Martínez Bujanda. So is October, and, if the weather permits – last year, for example, with the latest season in the last 30 years – even November.
Lauren Rosillo, our Technical Director, picked up ‘the suitcases’ last week and will not leave them at home again until around All Saints’ Day. At this moment -not so ‘moment’ in our case- exciting and crucial, the choice of the optimal harvest time is fundamental for the quality of future wines: a grape cut too early will bring herbaceous aromas and flavors to the wine, as well as a general imbalance between alcohol content, acidity and pH, and a grape cut too early will cause overripeness and, normally, alcoholic overload.
The pressure our technical team is under during these months, with this obsession to obtain the best quality for our wines, is extraordinary. The harvest began a few days ago at Finca Antigua. Located between the provinces of Cuenca and Toledo, Finca Antigua refers to the old vineyards that the property had when Familia Martínez Bujanda acquired it in 1999.
Varietal diversity(muscatel, viura, merlot, tempranillo, garnacha, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot), together with the high altitude of the estate (up to almost 1,000 meters), which allows a much more balanced and slower ripening of the grapes than in other better known and more common areas of La Mancha, facilitates a gradual and orderly harvest, by grape variety, which respects the optimum harvesting times.
Finca Antigua covers an area of 1,000 hectares, of which 421 are vineyards, figures that give an idea of the activity that takes place these days in the winery. We started with Muscat, whose sugar content is completely natural thanks to the sun exposure of the vineyards, and we have already started with the earliest red varieties.
The thermal amplitude (the difference in temperature between night and day) is key in the ripening of the vineyard, since coolness is necessary for the anthocyanins – responsible for the color of the wine, among other functions – to develop in the berries. This is the great differential asset of Finca Antigua and it is possible thanks to the altitude of our vineyards. The cold at night is the great ally of our vineyards and also of our technicians and harvest personnel who pick the grapes at night to ensure that they enter the winery in perfect condition.
As for the campaign, we have high hopes for it. It has been a very dry year, with hardly any rain since March and wide temperature ranges, which, as we said, is ideal for ripening. The heat at the end of August and these days in September have accelerated the harvest a bit. We are convinced that 2014 will be an excellent vintage at Finca Antigua.
In Rueda, at Finca Montepedroso, the harvest will begin this weekend, while in Rioja, at Finca Valpiedra, it is scheduled for the week of the 15th.

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