Joy and tears

It has been a long harvest here in Mireval. The wait to start seemed never ending. Nature played games with us all the way through, as each parcel took its time to reach maturity – and still it isn’t over. From predictions of one of the earliest harvests ever, putting us on the starting blocks at the beginning of August, we find ourselves in September, with muscat vines still calling us back. Just as in 2008, abundant late summer rainstorms gorged the gobelets with water, forcing us to seek out the best grapes and cut away the rest. If ever you doubt whether hand picking is better than machine harvesting, years like this show where the ability to make choices preserves quality. And of course, we learn our lessons for the next year.
We have had some magnificent grapes, true to their name of muscat blanc à petits grains, picked under the flaming colours of spectacular sunrises. We will see what they give us. The oenologues agree that this year we will learn how to cope with high levels of malic acid and delicate vinification conditions. Just like the vines, we hope that we will produce our best when we are stressed a little.
We miss our friends already, the house is growing quiet as the echoes of shared meals and stories fade away. And when the tiredness subsides, the passion will burn ever brightly. View from the tractor