grapes are ripe, the analysis
of the handpicked grapes confirms it. Sébastien ordered
a team of grape-pickers (for the few parcels where the grapes
are picked by hand) or the harvesting machine (for most of the
parcels on our estate).
is not an easy job to organise a team of pickers for the harvest.
The team wants to have a regular occupation. Now, it is impossible
to plan an exact date of harvesting more than two days in advance.
The date is determined by the analysis of the grapes. Two or
three days of sun and Mistral wind are advancing the date with
a couple of days. If the sky is overcast, maturation is stopped
and we will have to discommend the team.
the harvesting machine gives more flexibility because it doesn't
have bad moods and picks the grapes very rapidly. We only need
to make sure that none of the colleague co-owners needs the
machine and we can harvest almost at any wished moment.
4 other vintners we are co-owners of the harvesting machine.
The colleagues are working for the Wine Coop. Since 1987 we
replace this machine every 7 years, so that we always benefit
of the latest technological development. In 1987 we bought a
machine of the brand 'Braud', at that time it was already the
best you could wish. We now have our 4th machine since and it
is still a "blue" one. Our actual machine doesn't
damage the plants, neither does it break the for the winter
pruning so important young vine-shoots. It eliminates 99% of
the leaves, works twice as fast as our previous machines and
harvests the grapes without damage. Using the harvesting machine
allows us to harvest at the best moment possible and also to
adapt to the weather very quickly, for instance the day before
a thunderstorm we can instantly decide to harvest a parcel.
functioning of the harvesting machine:
- the machine moves over a row of vine plants
and shakes it with the help of 2 x 5 shakers that are meticulously
adjusted to the grape variety, the maturity and the climates
particularities ( with drought the grape is hard to remove,
with rainy weather the grape falls very easily from the vine).
The grape berry falls but the stem stays on
grape falls in the machine, in a pot chain that turns with the
same speed as the machine moves. The pots are filled and are
taken up to the back of the machine where the pots are turned
upside down and emptied. The pots then return empty to the front
of the machine.
the harvested grape is transported on two conveyer belts to
one of the big tubs on the side of the machine.
when these tubs are full the machine is stopped at the end of
a row and the tubs are emptied in one of the two stainless trailers.
the thus harvested grapes are transported
to the cellar.
mechanical harvest is less stressing than the harvest by hand.
Four workers are needed: the driver of the machine, the drivers
of the tractors with the trailers, and one person who receives
the grapes in the cellar.
All other persons that are present are just spectators ... ;-)
to be followed by: the transportation
of the grapes to the cellar.