Thursday 10 August 2017

10.8.17 Sherry Harvest has Begun

The Palomino grapes are already being picked in what is the earliest harvest anyone can remember, and it looks very unlikely that it will ever again begin in early September as it did before. The harvest has been getting ever earlier thanks to global warming, and recently it has been beginning in the second half of August, but this is unprecedented. Barbadillo began picking in their Gibalbín and Santa Lucía vineyards near Jerez on Monday having begun the pies de cuba at the end of last week. Grapes from the inland vineyards have easily exceeded the minimum sugar levels of 10.5° Beaumé required by the Consejo Regulador – with some reaching 15°. Much of the table wine harvest is already done.

A harvester drags a container of grapes in Barbadillo's Gibalbin vineyard (foto:MAGonzalez diariodejerez)

In its last forecast at the end of July, the Consejo predicted a possible increase in yield of 20% over last year, but it is still too early to be sure. Also it should be remembered that last year’s crop was quite small. Quality appears to be exceptional however, certainly better than last year. Grupo Estévez began harvesting last night and will be in full swing by the middle of next week, except for the vineyards at Sanlúcar which always ripen a little later, in about 10 days’ time. Williams & Humbert have begum picking their organic Palomino grapes and expect to begin the main harvest on Monday. For their part, some of the growers for González Byass will begin tonight while GB will begin on their own vineyards on Wednesday, and Fundador are carrying out checks to see how ready their and their suppliers’ grapes are.

Some 80% of the grapes will be harvested mechanically, but is some small vineyards or those with difficult access, hand picking will be necessary. The Cooperative will by contrast be picking 80% of its members’ grapes by hand which will require some 500 people, though they are not expecting to start picking before the end of next week. All the winemakers are in agreement that, even though the harvest is so early, the grapes are of superb quality.

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