Bodegas Barbadillo has begun harvesting and hope to pick 10 million kilos of grapes which they say are of excellent quality. They reckon the harvest will last till the first week of September. About 2.5 million kilos will come from the firm’s own 300 hectares of vineyard in Santa Lucía and Gibalbín. The rest will come from the 35 contracted growers’ vineyards in Jerez and Sanlúcar. They are picking about half a million kilos daily, split between mechanical and hand harvesting. The machines work at night till morning and the humans work from dawn till it gets too hot.
So far sugar readings are between 11.5ᴼ and 12ᴼ Beaumé and with the forecast cooling of temperatures the ripening will revert to normal. Much of th harvest will go for the firm’s top selling white table wine brand Castillo de San Diego which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. They also make a sparkling wine Beta, for which the Chardonnay was picked at the end of July. It is already fermented and awaits the Palomino to join it in the blend. Meanwhile with the red grapes they will pick Merlot at the end of this month and later the Tempranillo, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet.
|Hand picking at Barbadillo (foto:diariojerez)|
González Byass has also been harvesting at their 15.5 hectare La Racha vineyard, one of their holdings in the Pago Macharnudo. They have been picking by hand here and at night for the last four years. The 39 pickers are all men. They used to be mostly women as the men were working in construction, but the crisis put an end to that. Each worker picks some 600 kilos of grapes and the harvest will take two or at the most three days. The grapes go to a selection table where any bad bunches will be discarded. The pickers all have hi-viz jackets and lights on their heads and with the tractors’ headlights as well, there is enough light to see, but the noise from the engines makes conversation difficult.