This year’s harvest has taken us into the first week of November. At last we have been able to harvest our Graciano grapes, as it is a very late-ripening variety and even the Tempranillo took until the end of October to ripen properly. During the long and unremittingly hot summer the Tempranillo vines actually stopped ripening as a measure of self-preservation and only began again in September when the temperatures had dropped and the process could finish slowly and steadily to a perfect point of ripeness. This year has, once again, showed how we need to adapt, just as the vine does, to the changing weather in order to get the best from our grapes – as an example, this year our Garnacha, normally the last grapes to be picked, really took to the summer heat and were the first into the winery.
Back in the winery we have enjoyed playing with our new toy, an extension to our winery which was specially designed to deal with smaller volumes. We have 15 new tanks made of cement with volumes between 6,000 and 15,000 litres which will, above all, allow us to keep different plots separate and work to enhance the individual characteristics of each, enabling us to improve the quality of our wines.
Clearly harvest time is when a winery really comes into its own, a vibrant hub of activity with a dedicated team working to their limits, both outside in the vineyards and under the cellar roofs, where the wines are made. Finca la Emperatriz uses the same team of pickers every year – in fact they have been with us since the very first vintage and know every single inch of the vineyard. They truly deserve our admiration and thanks, as without their hard physical work and trained eyes to leave what should not be picked, there is no way our wines would be as good as they are. Far too often the plaudits go to others, but at this time of the year, we would like to stand and applaud them!