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Bordeaux harvest: day six

Published:  23 July, 2008

With the weekend over, some rot is setting in due to high humidity levels, with rain following the heat. Meanwhile, Jean-Christophe Mau still hasn't started picking at Chteau Preuillac.

Alexandra Martet - Chteau Lavison

The weekend was hot and humid, even more so in the cellar where the gas and the alcohol reinforce the impression.

The yeast are still working fast, so I am having to work flat out to keep pace with the pumpings over. The cellar smells good, but I am fed up with leaking hoses and blocked up pumps

Think of all those other producers, just like me, staring at troughs of wine during pumping over, mood alternating between hope and despair.

On Monday, the weather was grey and I was depressed. I went to look at the Cabernets with Stephane (agronomist from Yvon Mau) and was shocked to see that, with the humidity, signs of rot were emerging.

Our harvesting machines are being lent to other producers at the moment but, as soon as we get them back, we must start picking. I had hoped for more from the Cabernets. Better get back to pumping over.

One miracle, though - the weather forecast was right.

Jean-Christophe Mau - Chteau Brown and Chteau Preuillac

We worked Saturday to pick two ha of young Merlot vines and took Sunday off. Hostilities were resumed yesterday at 8.00am and we have stepped up the pace as the continuing humidity brings risk of rot.

In the afternoon we picked the Petit Verdot - it is amazing that it has reached ripeness before some parcels of Merlot.

We still haven't started picking at Chateau Preuillac. Being in the north of the Medoc, we are later than elsewhere.

We expect to start on October 10, the latest date, not surprisingly, that we have ever started at Preuillac. We will need to pick quickly once we start because humidity and the risk of rain persist.

Tomorrow, we have 24 children coming to visit us at Chateau Brown to see how we convert grapes into a national treasure..