Night Harvest

Night HarvestThis is a photo of a harvest worker in Chile, gathering grapes by spotlight under a midnight sky.  I recently received it from a friend of mine who works with Casa Lapostolle in Chile. 

The winery experimented with this practice for the first time last season with their Sauvignon Blanc at the Las Kuras vineyard in Cachapoal.  The experience was such a success, they decided to perform night harvesting in 2009 at all of their three estates!  This made quite a difference as the workers were cool and relaxed while experiencing quiet, soothing moonlit nights.  They also felt more in tune with nature, and able to enjoy work more.  The harvest started on February 25th, and ended on April 25th with the harvesting of Carmenere from Apalta.

The experience yielded not only a great work environment, but also a superior product.  When the grapes are able to cool down from the daytime sun, they can be picked at an optimum temperature.  They will not be sitting under a hot sun, heated up further from interacting with other hot grapes and hot air in gathering bins.  This would oxidize the grapes and release complex compounds, robbing them of alot of the aromas and flavors they can give the wine.  Only time will tell if the winemakers can take the juice and make a great '09 vintage, but they have an excellent start.  We will look forward to further updates from Casa Lapostolle in Chile.