Harvest time at Ashling Park
This is it – the culmination of the season. After all the hard work in all weathers – rain, wind, and the dreaded frost which early season can have a marked effect on the yield – tending and nursing the vines we have finally reached the end goal of producing the crop for our award-winning wines.
Although harvesting is a seemingly straightforward task, there are many facets and weeks of preparation required beforehand. These include organising pickers and the equipment required such as crates, pallets, secateurs, and transport of the grapes to the winery. However, even the most well-organised harvest can be spoilt by inclement weather – picking in torrential rain is not recommended!
The fundamental decision ahead of harvest is the timing. During late summer the grapes will go through ‘veraison’, which is when the accumulation of sugars accelerate. With this there is a correlation in the reduction of acidity levels, bringing our grapes to ripeness. To monitor this ripeness a refractometer is used in the vineyard. This measures the sugar levels in the field, with regular samples being sent to the winemakers for further analysis. It’s a never-ending balance of leaving the grapes on the vine to ensure ripeness, but this should not be to the detriment of potential disease/rots, a risk as we approach the colder and possibly wetter months of harvest.
This year, owing to the cold spring and early summer, the harvest is likely to commence in October, slightly later than last year.
So, next time you’re imbibing one of our wines, spare a thought for all the work involved in bringing that ‘enchantment in a glass’.
Pete Crabtree, Estate Manager, Ashling Park Estate
*** Ashling Park Estate is looking for volunteers to help with this year’s harvest! If you’re interested being part of this experience please email the team: [email protected]***