Saturday, 25 August 2018

25.8.18 2018 Sherry Harvest Under Way

The Sherry grapes are now arriving at the presses, at least those from the inland vineyards. The abnormally low incidence of the hot Levante wind, moderate temperatures and above average rainfall have caused the grapes to ripen more slowly than usual, but that is no bad thing. A harvest of over 80 million kilos is expected, some 10% higher than last year. González Byass and Grupo Estévez, among others, have been granted permission to start picking by the Consejo Regulador.

Grupo Estévez started picking at their 50 hectare Tio Mateo vineyard near Trebujena at about 7 o’ clock last night using a harvesting machine. The firm owns a total of nine machines because they own over 800 hectares of vineyard, making them the largest wine producer in Andalucía, and the machines are much cheaper and quicker than human pickers and can pick up to half a million kilos a day. 80% of the firm’s grapes will be harvested by machine.

The machines discharge the grapes into lorries which take 14,000 kilos of them at a time to the winery where the grape reception system can deal with 25,000 kilos an hour. The grapes are pumped to huge tanks which use gravity to separate out the “mosto yema” or free-run juice which is the best quality. After correction of pH and acidity, it is pumped to the fermentation tanks, while the rest goes to the pneumatic press where two further qualities of juice will be produced: the “segunda yema” and the “prensa”. The mosto yema will be used to make Fino or table wine; the segunda yema will be used to make Oloroso while the prensa will be used for distilling or vinegar. The entire system is controlled by an electronic panel.

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