Updated: Apr 8, 2018
We were a good way into vintage when it finally came time to pick the Tempranillo and the weather had so far been close to perfect with almost no rain and cool, crisp nights.
We had scheduled the pick in for the weekend of the 13-14th of January and we were hopeful it would be the right decision. It is always tricky when you're hand-picking as it much easier to rope in pickers on the weekend, although unfortunately you cant tell the grapes when to be ready!
The Italian contingent were here, which consisted on Nonno and Nonna who had flown over from Italy to give us a hand with the kids! It was not going to be the most exciting time for them to visit Australia as we are well and truly tied to our work during vintage but it was very welcomed and much appreciated, and certainly a great relief for us and our boys who thought it was fantastic!
So at least we knew we were free to pick with no worries!
A couple of friends had put there hands up to help but the chosen weekend was not going to work out for them. The growers we had purchased the Tempranillo from had kindly offered to assist and had managed to drag in some friends to help out much to our relief, although a couple of them could only do the Saturday and at our final checks we decided we wanted to give the grapes one last day in the sun and pick on the Sunday even though it would be less convenient!
So, who do you call when you need last minute reinforcements! Your parents of course!
I am sure it was the last thing they felt like doing but when I called my mum and my step dad to beg for a hand on Sunday they willingly obliged.
We were in for an early start, with the plan to be all on-site and ready to pick by first light, which was around 4.45am, but the troops were up for it. Nonno had also put his hand up to help out also so we were going to be a force of 9, a pretty good amount in the end to pick 1-1.5T. Things ran pretty smoothly despite risking loosing a finger by being a little to eager and starting just before you could actually see properly but by 6am we were half way through.
We did have a small mishap in the middle when my mum screamed and as the grapes flew out of her bucket and onto the ground we realised she was being attacked by wasps! Just one of the many vineyard hazards a picker may face! She wasn't the last either I managed to get a couple of bites myself as did some of the others. It seemed like that sweet juice was just right for the wasps as well as the winemakers!
By 7am however it was all off! It was quite and achievement! The morning was still cool and the grapes would be in excellent shape when they arrived at the winery which was just down the road.
Unfortunately hand picking would mean were were back to bucketing the fruit into the crusher, but it was a labour of love as the fruit was looking great and we were so excited about the quality! The baume was a perfect 12.6 with great red and black fruit flavours and it was still holding an excellent line of acidity, plus it had a fantastic deep, dark colour.
We left it safely tucked away overnight, with the cooling on, snugly wrapped up in a bed sheet to keep any unwanted bugs from taking a swim in our precious parcel while we headed back home for a little celebratory lunch with our lovely labourers!
We then came back in to start the ferment the next day and from then until now it has been looked after like a baby, with every care taken to ensure its quality would be retained, and as far as we can tell it certainly has been.
It is always a long wait when you have something you really want to show off, but as they say, all good things take time. The wine is now sitting in barrels and has just finished malolactic fermentation, we have a little taste each time we top which gets us all excited about it again, but all we can ask of it now is to rest and relax until the end of the year when we hope to get it into bottle and finally share it with the world!