Harvest Diary from Chile – Day 3

21 April, Thursday – Day 3
The morning started with a hearty breakfast of three fried eggs, baguette and tea. After having pottered around in the log cabin, I joined the team at the winery, who was busy with sorting the grapes picked the day before. Till lunch I was on sorting duty trying to make sure that stalks, leftover stems and leaves do not get into the crusher and eventually into the tank, thereby decreasing, if not completely eliminating, the greenish and stalkish tannins in the final wine.

Around half past one we walked back to the hut to make lunch. Omar managed to take his power nap, so I improvised a vegetarian version of ‘layered potato’, a Hungarian dish. It turned out very deliciously and the romaine mixed with tomato was a good accompaniment.

Reenergised with lunch and wine, we returned to our post at the sorting table and carried on with the job for the rest of the day. As we realised later on, we had got through some 10 tons of Syrah. 6pm was approaching, so we stopped the triage and started to clean the equipment. Timing is crucial, because electricity is more expensive between 6 and 11pm. The utility company picks the two highest average values of consumption from these periods over the year, and calculates the annual electricity bill on the basis of that. Now if you have all your winemaking machines switched on and you need to pay the annual bill accordingly, you would end up with a huge bill that is completely unnecessary and distorted.

As a result of the day, one tank got filled up with the grapes of one parcel and another one half full with grapes from another block. In addition, 500 litres of free-run juice was bled off from each tank, which were mixed with 100 ppm potassium metabisulphite each. The must for rose would be inoculated later with yeast and fermented out dry. This rose wine will not be part of the Polkura range, but is sold off in bulk.

Before shutting down and locking up, Omar was on punching down duty for the Grenache Noir, Tempranillo and Syrah containers. My job was to take the temperature and the sugar levels. The temperatures were between 10 and 12°C, ideal for cold soak, and the Brix was between 25 and 27.

After a beer, we drew the day to an end with some roasted root vegetables and a bottle of Polkura Malbec, which was super-concentrated unlike any wine from Mendoza or Cahors.

Fine structure, superb concentration: Polkura Malbec 2008

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