The grape gathering is one of the most important moments for any wine producer.
It is the moment in which the grape is collected which will be turned into wine later. The term harvest is taken when the grapes to be used are for wine, in all its quality categories: Wine of payment, D.P.O. Wine , Protected Geographical Indication Wine and Varietal Wine. At Bodegas Fernando Castro, we take this moment very seriously, our best oenologists and winemakers make important decisions to choose the type of wine and ensure that it achieves the desired quality.
The grape gathering tradition of Castilla La Mancha dates back hundreds of years, with areas which are known as the oldest of Spain as well as the most important worlwide ones with a long path that back up its experience and know-how.
In Valdepeñas, grape gathering is considered a very important moment of the year and it is greatly celebrated. A hundreds of cultural events are held in the first week of September.
However, what the success of the grap gathering depends on?
From Bodegas Fernando Castro perspective, several decisive aspects should be taken into account.
1 The ideal time.
Every grape has it time. Despite the fact that the grape gathering usually starts at the end of august and september, our enologists study each grape and calculate its moment of ripeness, depending on the wine which it is destined for. The oenologists and technicians go out into the field and take differents try-on of the grapes, which are analysed later in the winery’s laboratories.
Our viticulturists bring new samples to the winery the days before the estimated date of the grape gathering, to ensure whether it is the right date or whether it is necessary to wait a few more days. Determining the right moment is the key to achieve the best quality of the type of wine you want to make.
The harvest always starts with the foreign varieties, starting in mid/late August, depending on the year. Then the grape gathering continues with the white grapes of the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varieties, followed by our Macabeo and Verdejo varieties.
The earliest red varieties begin to be harvested at the end of August and the beginning of September, more specifically the French varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The national red grape varieties Tempranillo and Garnacha Tinta have to wait until mid-September to be harvested.
These times can be accelerated or delayed depending on whether the vineyard is trained or at ground level, and/or whether it is rainfed or irrigated.
2 The weather
The conditions of our vineyards in Valdepeñas mean that our grapes have qualities that are not found in other places. The climate of the area varies from -10°C to moments that reach 40°C, rainfall in spring and autumn, and torrential rains in summer.
The area in which our vineyards are located is surrounded by volcanic areas. The terrain gives our grapes unique characteristics, which also determines the quality of the grape.
Bodegas Fernando Castro constantly checks the state of the vegetative cycle of the vines. Variations in both temperature and rainfall are a decisive factor in determining the time of the grape gathering.
Our expert farmers get ready to start harvesting the grapes. At Bodegas Fernando Castro, we use traditional methods for harvesting the vines, with tools such as harvesting scissors or corquete. Once the bunches of grapes have been cut, they are distributed into boxes for later transport.
The traditional method ensures the least possible damage to the vines, as well as greater care in harvesting the grapes.
On the other hand, our hectares of trellised vineyard also provide us with the possibility of mechanisation, and in the case of needing it because of any risk of over-ripening of the grapes due to rain or hailstorms at harvest time, we can organise a quick grape harvest at the correct point of ripeness.
4 Enjoying a well-done job
Once the grape gathering has come to an end, Bodegas Fernando Castro celebrates it by joining in the local festivities. We must always celebrate a good grape gathering and thank our land for giving us such a selection of grapes.
for an unbeatable grape gathering
At Bodegas Fernando Castro, we are very proud of our wines, and we make sure that all the processes involved in the production of our wine are carefully studied.
The grape gathering is a time of celebration and also of enormous importance, the good result of the harvest determines the quality of our wines.