Many of the Sherry vineyards are being harvested at night. This is not a new phenomenon, but is comparatively new for Jerez. It means the grapes arrive at the lagares (press houses) in a cooler state and are therefore less prone to oxidation, and fermentations are easier to control. The grapes also arrive more quickly, and are more uniformly ripe.
The harvest has seen a technological transformation in recent years, and the familiar sight of innumerable teams of pickers has been drastically reduced. Hand picking grapes by day is extremely hard work anyway, as temperatures can be suffocating – well into the 40’s. Even the machines prefer working at night, as their engines and other mechanisms run cooler, and there are fewer breakdowns.
|(Imagen Diario Jerez)|
More than half the crop will be harvested mechanically. Many fewer people are even looking for work at harvest time now, though there are jobs for people to repair and service the machines, and to fix any damage they cause – which is not much, as the machines have been improving, and are quite sensitive to the vines. Naturally, some older vineyards which were not planted with machines in mind will need to be done by hand.
This year’s harvest should be over towards the end of next week – just in time for the harvest festival, and this year’s Fiesta de la Buleria, which begins at the bullring on the 7th of September.