Whilst the harvesting of arable crops, fruit and vegetables are winding down, September is when we start to look out for the tell-tale signs that the grape harvest is ready to begin.
Being at the geographic extremes of grape production In the Northern Hemisphere, we have to carefully monitor the vines’ progress day by day. It can be a tricky job to predict when the harvest should start as it rest on a number of different factors: grape variety, weather, sugar and pH levels. Castle Brook has its own unique taste which is determined by the exact flavour of the grapes when they are picked. If we don’t harvest at the right time, we won’t get the delicious end result we all know and love…
Carefully nurturing the vines through each growth stage is vital for a successful crop come autumn, and pruning and managing the growth and direction of the vines is all part of that process.
Once the harvest is over, the vines will continue to photosynthesize creating enough carbon dioxide to store in the roots and trunk. the chlorophyll in the leaves will break down and turn into lovely yellow/autumnal colours. Heading into winter, the leaves will drop, pruning will be complete and the vines will enter dormancy. Pruning must then be completed before the sap starts to rise in the springtime, leaving only one or two of the one-year-old canes left on the truck, which will provide the frame for next years fruit and vegetative growth.
Early next spring, we will start the whole process again, gradually readying the vines and the subsequent grapes ahead of the harvest.
This year, we have handpicked a pleasing amount of grapes and have already started the long process of turning them into our award-winning sparkling wines. It will be another four years or so before these bottles are released but I promise, they will be worth the wait…