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Harvest Around The Corner

iceIt’s the cold depth of winter in North America right now, but just the opposite in Australia, of course. That means harvest – aka, “vintage” – is not too far off. If the picking follows form, it will go on for a while. That’s a difference between Australia and some other regions, as pointed out by Two Hands’ Michael Twelftree when he was asked to compare Old World and New World:

From my experiences in Burgundy, I am always amazed at how narrow the picking window can be. Once the vintage is declared, many people automatically get their picking crew in and often pick the vineyards day after day, rather than waiting until each block’s fruit is at its optimum. In Burgundy everyone is done and dusted within about two weeks, and if you’re a rare vigneron to let your parcel hang another week or two, it is viewed as a huge risk.

My experience in Australia is the exact opposite: we start harvesting when we feel like it, work with as many as nine varieties, bring in some earlier parcels in early February to make our moscato, and can still be waiting on a parcel of mataro some ten weeks later. Due to our weather, size of vineyards and regions, we have many more variables at play, and we spend each vintage trying to get the ripening curve perfect in each parcel. As I always say, once you have picked it you can’t go back and put the grapes back on!

We’ll be offering updates on the 2013 harvest as it unfolds, so check back in the next couple of months. (And for more on Michael’s “Old World vs. New World” thoughts, see this excellent forum on Winophilia.)

image via Wikimedia Commons

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