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Calm before the storm ...

Harvest 2019!

At the start of the growing season, the last week of June, large areas of Europe were in the grip of a heatwave with temperatures hitting 45°C. The heat destroyed many of our grapes. Then, for the third consecutive year, the season continued with a drought. Although the drought reduced yields by about half compared with a normal year, it also meant that diseases caused by damp conditions were kept in check. As a result, the quality of the grapes is excellent, with plenty of aroma, colour and a high acid content.

Harvesting, the busiest time of the year, began on 5 September. One month later on 10 October, everything had been gathered in. A meditative silence and tranquillity have once again fallen over the vineyards. We love it.

This is our second year of harvesting and we’re starting to feel rather like “veterans”. We’re now taking the final step to completing our future product mix with both white and rosé wines. For us, harvest started with the white Garnacha grapes, which ripen first. We’ll be producing two styles from the white Garnacha grapes. One will be an easy-to-drink, fruity white wine and the other will have a little more structure and be ideal to serve with a meal.

Shortly thereafter it was time to harvest the blue Garnacha grapes for the rosé wine. We picked the blue Garnacha grapes before they were completely ripe because we want a high acid content that makes a wine crisp and refreshing. I know that a rosé wine stirs up feelings but I could never have guessed that we would have such passionate and lively discussions about what shade of pink our rosé wine should be. A stream of photos and colour samples were sent back and forth. We’ll see the results and who got their way once the wine has cleared. I have a suspicion that those discussions will be reignited. The next two weeks proceeded as usual without any heated debates. Once we’d finished picking the blue Garnacha grapes, we harvested the Carinyena (blue) grapes, which are the last to ripen.

Team Bell Cros was joined by a cheerful and sweet-singing group of people from Gothenburg for the last week of the harvest. Miguel Figini, who is responsible for looking after visitors to our vineyard, was their host for two days. After donning workwear, their first day began out in the fields with some practical work picking grapes and some theory on what grape cultivation involves. Fortified by a substantial lunch, they carried on the work of sorting and crushing the grapes so that alcoholic fermentation could begin. Miguel naturally continued sharing more facts and information about vinification with the hard-working visitors. On their second day, our Swedish guests learned more about organic and biodynamic viticulture and the day concluded with a visit to Celler Nin Ortiz, Porrera DOQ Priorat.

A huge thank you to Team Bell Cros and everyone who helped with the harvest. Particular thanks go to Baltasar who headed and coordinated the work.

Lots of photos with colour tones and Pantone colour codes were sent back and forth about what shade of pink the rosé wine should be.
Joan Asens, our winemaker, anxiously awaits the first comments about the rosé wine.
The final crates of Carinyena grapes are loaded before the tourists arrive from Gothenburg, Sweden, to pick the last grapes.
It’s not as hot in Gothenburg where our guests come from. So Ann hands out stylish DO Montsant hats to protect them from the sun.
They explore the beautiful surroundings before it’s time to start work.
Everyone is busy picking grapes.
What a beautiful bunch this is.
Everyone hurries back with the grapes to start the vinification process.
A glass of refreshing Cava from Vendrell Olivella before Miguel moves our visitors on to the next task.
Miguel helps them make their own Carinyena and Garnacha coupages.
Some taste so good it isn’t worth putting the bottle down between top-ups.
Everyone has to listen to a presentation given the old-fashioned way using a flipboard.
Red delight.
Matias from the restaurant Quinoa in Falset treats us to paella for lunch.
Everyone makes their own wine, carefully sorting and crushing the grapes.
Hands get really sticky and juicy….
….but it’s great fun.
Baltasar, our hero who was in charge of organising and getting the harvest done.
Tranquillity returns to the vineyard.

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