Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


Pre-Harvest Sampling (Tempranillo)

This morning I was in the vineyard in Carabaña (Madrid, Spain) taking samples of the Tempranillo; and as we suspected we’re going to harvest tomorrow, as the probable level of alcohol will be about 13,5º.

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I did a systematic sampling as opposed to a quick n dirty one! ie, I walked up and down every row and picked eithe 1, 2, 3 or 4 berries from each vine, (from different sides of the vine, from different parts of the cluster, etc) so as to get an accurate and representative sample. Quick n dirty smaples are OK during the summer to give you a rough idea, but as harvest time approaches, the more accurate, the better.

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Ideally, it’s best to go early in the morning to take the samples, because that way it’s nice n cool and it’s a pleasant task to stroll through the vineyard, listening to the birdies and picking berries! Also the temperature of the juice will be lower and so will give an accurate reading, without having to do any calculations to compensate for temperature differences (most instruments are calibrated to 20ºC). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get out till about 12 noon, and it was a bit too hot for confort!

It’s also a good idea to wear socks and shoes, as opposed to sandals! I usually keep socks and shoes (and other clothes and tools) in the back of the car, but this was my first trip out to the vineyard after my holidays, and so I’d completely forgotten to load up all the usual stuff.

So all in all I didn’t enjoy the (90-minute) experience a lot!

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This vine (above) is near the edge of the vineyard, and all the clusters have been eaten by some animal – I suspect rabbits! Note the bottom branch – even the leaves have been eaten off it!!!

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Some of the grapes on this vine have been eaten also, but by a different animal. See how the individual berries have been eaten but the stem is still there.

At this point, my mobile reached its limit and wouldn’t let me take any more photos :(

I really must get myself a more modern internet-friendly device, so that I can post stuff straight to the internet from the vineyard or bodega, instead of having to come home and downloading into my PC!