NILA

THE GRAPE HARVEST

THE GRAPE HARVEST

The long process required for the production of the region’s wines commences here with the harvest, an activity that requires an important and organised work structure in which intervene viticulturists, technical and laboratory staff, winery personnel, foremen, carriers, grape-pickers, haulage firms, machine operators and a wide range of people who make it possible to obtain this must, this first wine of the year, destined to form part of the soleras of our winery where its ageing process will begin.

Throughout the year the vineyard is subjected to a variety of tasks that continue until July, month in which the technical department of Williams & Humbert begin to carry out regular monitoring of the ripeness of the grapes until it is decided that the moment has come to commence the grape harvest. A reading of 10.5º on the Baumé scale, measure of the grape’s sugar content, indicates that the grape has reached its optimum point of ripeness. This is the minimum level required in order to pick the grapes, which are now considered ready to be harvested. This moment of optimum ripeness usually occurs between the end of August and beginning of September, the time when the grape harvest commences throughout the Jerez Region.

In this way, the grapes of each Pago will be harvested and processed individually and separately. The must from Añina and Carrascal will be used to produce Williams & Humbert wines, whilst at the same time this vinification according to Pago will allow the winery to study the individual characteristics of the must from each of the two vineyard zones. Until the harvest ends the hoppers of the Las Conchas pressing plant will unload all the harvested grapes, both from these pagos and from other neighbouring vineyards belonging to suppliers that Williams & Humbert have been working with for years.

In this way, the grapes of each Pago will be harvested and processed individually and separately. The must from Añina and Carrascal will be used to produce Williams & Humbert wines, whilst at the same time this vinification according to Pago will allow the winery to study the individual characteristics of the must from each of the two vineyard zones. Until the harvest ends the hoppers of the Las Conchas pressing plant will unload all the harvested grapes, both from these pagos and from other neighbouring vineyards belonging to suppliers that Williams & Humbert have been working with for years.

Most of the grapes will be harvested by machine during the night. Our winery first started nocturnal harvesting around twenty years ago in order to prevent oxidation and uncontrolled fermentations that may be produced by the high daytime temperatures registered here in the region during harvest time. The machines pass between the rows of vines and with a fishtail movement of their rods shake the grapes that then fall into the previously selected hopper, these machines even include a selection table to separate the bunches, stems, leaves and other unwanted elements.

From 2am until 12 midday the work of the machines is complemented by the manual harvesting carried out in the vineyard each day from 7am until 2pm. The grape pickers cut the grapes, using traditional knives or scissors, and place them in their harvesting baskets before tipping them into vats installed on the vineyard. Whether harvested by machine or by hand the grapes must reach the pressing plant quickly and in optimum condition.

From 2am until 12 midday the work of the machines is complemented by the manual harvesting carried out in the vineyard each day from 7am until 2pm. The grape pickers cut the grapes, using traditional knives or scissors, and place them in their harvesting baskets before tipping them into vats installed on the vineyard. Whether harvested by machine or by hand the grapes must reach the pressing plant quickly and in optimum condition.

THE PRESSING PLANT

The Williams & Humbert pressing plant is located on the Las Conchas vineyard, in the Añina vineyard zone. Commencing at 4am these facilities receive almost half a million kilos of grapes each day, both own-grown and from other suppliers. Prior to unloading into the presses, the trucks are weighed and analytical samples of the grapes they transport are taken to certify that they comply with strict quality controls and required sanitary conditions. Once this process ends, the grapes are tipped into reception hoppers fitted with a continuous screw system to carry the grapes to a crusher which then breaks the skin of the grape. As a result of this crushing and the posterior pumping system, the resulting grape paste together with the must released by the process are transported to vats. It is here, at the discretion of the oenologist, that the percentage of must to be classified as primera yema will be extracted.

Different classifications of must will be obtained according to the amount of pressure applied. Primera yema must from the first pressing, obtained by applying slight pressure, is suitable for producing wines generally selected for biological ageing, whilst must from the second pressing with more structure come from solid parts and produce wines apt for oxidative or physical- chemical ageing. The remains of the process are transported to a semi-press where another part of must is extracted, until the process ends in the final pressing and the extraction of solid residues or orujos. All the must processed at the pressing plant is collected on-site by tankers and rapidly transported to the winery to begin fermentation.

Different classifications of must will be obtained according to the amount of pressure applied. Primera yema must from the first pressing, obtained by applying slight pressure, is suitable for producing wines generally selected for biological ageing, whilst must from the second pressing with more structure come from solid parts and produce wines apt for oxidative or physical- chemical ageing. The remains of the process are transported to a semi-press where another part of must is extracted, until the process ends in the final pressing and the extraction of solid residues or orujos. All the must processed at the pressing plant is collected on-site by tankers and rapidly transported to the winery to begin fermentation.




ASOLEO

A percentage of Palomino grapes are left on the vine with the aim of increasing their degree Baumé. When this remains stable and ceases to rise, the grapes are picked by hand and subjected to the asoleo or sunning process by which the Palomino grapes reach 15.5º Baumé, thus obtaining an overly ripe grape destined for the production of wines in no need of fortification. Once these grapes are harvested, around 30,000 kilos, they are laid out on the ground upon matting or plastic sheets that are manually rotated. This sunning process, which takes place at the vineyard, turns the grapes into raisins as the water inside evaporates. During the night, the bunches are covered to prevent them from suffering from early morning dew. This operation generally takes between five and seven days, depending upon the temperature and degree of nocturnal humidity. In the next campaign Williams & Humbert will increase the sunning process to include the Pedro Ximénez variety as well as Palomino grapes. The whole harvesting and vinification process took a total of sixteen days in the 2018 campaign: from Tuesday August 28 th to Wednesday September 12 th , whilst the sunning process took place from October 1 st to the 4 th . A grand total of twenty days during which the fruit has been collected as a reward for the previous months of work, during which time the vineyards have been meticulously cared for in preparation for the harvest. Throughout the whole year the vineyard is the object of diverse labours until July comes around, month in which the technical department of Williams & Humbert begin to regularly check the ripeness of the grape until they decide the moment has arrived to commence the harvest. The long process required for the production of the region’s wines commences here with the harvest, an activity that requires an important and organised work structure in which intervene viticulturists, technical and laboratory staff, winery personnel, foremen, carriers, grape-pickers, haulage firms, machine operators and a wide range of people who make it possible to obtain this must, this first wine of the year, destined to form part of the soleras of our winery where its ageing process will begin.

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