Rosé 2014 – Harvest by Hand 2

Cabernet Franc, Hand Harvest

Incredible weather, healthy grapes.  The year to try our hands at Rosé.

Setting up the Baskets

Setting up the Baskets

It wasn’t worth it to call in a harvester for a small quantity (only 1000 liters…) so we opted for an old fashioned hand harvest.  As we began snipping, the eldest of our team piped: “Haven’t done this in 30 years!”

Early Morning, The First Row

Genevieve makes a snipping decision

Indeed.  Except for wines with big budgets and very large teams, (Medoc, St. Emilion…) hand harvesting in the rest of the Bordeaux region has almost gone the way of folklore.  Easy to understand why: labor intensive, costly, time consuming… and a little tough on your back and knees.


John in the Merlots

Anyway, we’re fools for dying traditions, so we rounded up a few neighbors with generous hearts and strong backs.  The morning was a relay game in the Cabernet Francs, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots – selecting, cutting, schlepping to the little trailer hooked up to our car, pouring the grapes basket by basket into the little press in the winery and lots of fussing to keep the juice cold.  (To prevent oxidation.)

carting of the grapes by wheelbarrow

carting the grapes by wheelbarrow

A morning of laughter and winemaking talk with our expert neighbors, dotted by a few muscle-groans.  We finished just as it grew hot, just before the point of high fatigue.

Genevieve in the Cabernets Francs

Genevieve in the Cabernet Francs

A break for an old fashioned hand-harvester lunch: roast pork with garlic, epeutre from Provence en vinaigrette, salad and cheese and cake… quaffed with La Tourbeille 2011.   We said goodbye to our dear volunteers (who had their own grapes to focus on) and spent the rest of the day cleaning the winery and worrying about our cold system.

full basket, perfect grapes

full basket, perfect grapes

Miss pale pink Rosé is now in excellent condition for a wee one, and dozing patiently.  Like most things maturing quietly in the dark, we won’t know much about her for weeks.   That’s ok.  We’ll be fretting about the Red harvest very soon.

Mary in the Sauvignons

Mary in the Sauvignons

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