Well it’s done! The 2013 harvest is in the winery now! And how well the Paradise Rescued team can smile after one of the most challenging Bordeaux growing seasons in 25 years. We successfully completed our harvest on Saturday.

Mid morning break for the harvest team in Hourcat Sud, the home of Cloud9 Cabernet Franc.

Mid morning break for the harvest team in Hourcat Sud, the home of Cloud9 Cabernet Franc.

To have gathered a harvest at all this year is a great achievement. The growing season was cold and wet, with a late drawn out flowering period, followed by intense heat in July then a mixed bag of everything in August and then finally warm humid conditions through September. And then to finish it all off,  torrential rain arrived in early October. Avoiding rot has been a major challenge… we were prepared!

Severe hand selection of only the best fruit was carried out.

Severe hand selection of only the best fruit was carried out.

The key to this year’s success can be found less in the winery but more underneath the vines in the vineyard where all the sub standard rejected fruit lies. This fruit “de-selection process” has been severe. In the weeks preceding the harvest, those bunches with no hope of ripening sufficiently, were removed. During Saturday’s hand picked harvest, every bunch that was cut was further checked to remove unripe and rotten fruit. And a final fruit selection and confirmation was completed at the winery door just prior to de-stemming and crushing. Overall, I would estimate that on Saturday more than a third of the fruit was rejected to maintain the quality of the final ferment.

Our brand coffee mug was quick to join the action.

Our Paradise Rescued brand coffee mug was quick to join the action.

The resulting must (juice) has an extremely fine taste; it will be interesting to follow its progress into wine and bottle. Every vintage is of course different but this one will be very unique due to the unusual growing season and fruit…definitely one to watch! Yesterday, we added the yeast and this afternoon, we carried out the first full (closed) pump over of the must (“remontage”). At least it is nice to have both big 800 litre vats in use this year for the first time. Many more exciting stories to come as our 2013 Cloud9 emerges.

And it would be inappropriate to finish without a special mention to Pascale Bervas, our vigneron who successfully delivered a wonderful organic harvest when there has been so much pain and devastation all across the vineyards of Bordeaux. Thank you – you are the best!