Did you know that grape harvesting is just one more phase of the wine production processes? It probably is, indeed, the most recognised one. It is the stage that connects a year’s worth of efforts in the field with the beginning of works at the cellar. For the Martinez Bujanda Family, the most awaited moment of the year happens when grapes get harvested, and we have already been through over 130 vintages! If you come and visit one of our vineyards, you will be able to discover in first person the traditions and processes involved in harvesting, along with all the peculiarities concerning them.
It is easily said, but 130 years ago it was the saint’s and virgin’s ephemeris who marked the start of the harvesting season. Since then, we have learned a lot – we have studied our vineyards and grape varieties exhaustively. For example, did you know which strains are harvested earlier? Although this can vary, the first grapes to get harvested are white grapes, like muscatel and gewürztraminer. On the other side, within red grape varieties, there is a winelover* tip you should know: tempranillo grapes – meaning “early” in Spanish – owe their name to the fact that they have got a shorter maturation cycle. For this reason, their ripening happens at an earlier stage than other red grape strains.
However, the harvesting period has transcended wine cellars – it has become an outright social event. Everyone now talks about harvesting, and both experts and the less experienced lucubrate about the quality of the wine that will be obtained from these harvested grapes. Grapes which have been carefully taken care of throughout the whole year and praised with phrases like “this year’s vintage is promising”. This year has been particularly difficult given the social circumstances and the climatic events that Spain has had to face. This is important because, as we are explaining today, wine is not really made at this point only. It actually begins its production as soon as last year’s harvest is finished, when we start to prepare next year’s straight away. We begin by putting our thought and effort into the vineyard and, of course, we really focus on these current days, where the grapes arrive at the cellar to continue their winemaking processes.
For this reason, at the Martinez Bujanda Family we are at high point right now, after a whole year of resilient work at all our vineyards. Finca Antigua started their harvest at the end of August with white grapes, whereas Finca Valpiedra and Finca Montepedroso will begin in the next few days and start elaborating the wines that Lauren Rosillo – our winemaker and oenologist – designs day by day.
What factors influence the harvesting season?
When the vines are being planted, we must consider a series of elements in order to achieve the plants’ best development and get our grapes to ripen optimally. Not all grape strains can adapt to any kind of soil or climate. Because of this, we should consider the climate and type of soil they will live in, the hours of sunlight that the vine will be exposed to and the amount of water they will receive. Days before we harvest the grapes, we must carry out a series of constant measurements and controls, looking at their acidity, their phenolic compounds, and their sugar levels – this latter one will provide the wine’s potential alcohol content. All of this will serve as a final exam before starting to elaborate the wine and maintain the style that we are used to.