Handpicking an advantage with frosted vintage

We started earlier than ever on 31 August with a young team – no wonder Sean is smiling surrounded by youthful beauty. This was a delicate vintage with some parcels frosted 40% in a clean’ish line down the just below centre and others with a bit of frost damage here there and everywhere. it was a vintage for nimble handpicking and the finesse of youth combined with the sage of age.

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With Sean are Ros Bowles (right) who worked at Chateau Feely for the summer (yay!) and Maeve McWilliam (left) a friend from Oz. Sophia and Ellie Feely our daughters thought it was good craic – better than going to school (all jokes – it was still holidays, it was that early).

Sophia and Ellie Feely of Chateau Feely take part in their first hand harvest 2017

Sophia and Ellie Feely of Chateau Feely take part in their first hand harvest 2017

The triskell through the cabernet sauvignon (picked a couple of days later for rosé).

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This exciting first day we harvested the sauvignon blanc for Sincérité. The juice was delicious, the team was great and it was Sean’s birthday – every reason to celebrate at the delightful 1500 café in Saussignac run by Mike and Lee (standing in the photo Mike left and Lee right).
DSC03615That didn’t stop us being up before dawn to pick the next day and then two days later and so on and so on.

Beautiful dawn at Chateau Feely organic vineyard

Beautiful dawn at Chateau Feely organic vineyard

Dawn through merlot at Chateau Feely

Dawn through merlot at Chateau Feely

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Fearless leader Sean Feely. OMG is that a rain cloud I see? Feck it. let’s get a shuffle on.

OMG is that a rain cloud I see? Feck it lets get a shuffle on. Brings new meaning to 'A Flying Winemaker'

Sean Feely brings new meaning to ‘A Flying Winemaker’

Call for reinforcements! Andy, Nola and Murphy May of Guernsey flew in (really) to back up our our ace team from Belfast Cathy and Roddy Pugh, and our usual hard core stalwarts Gérard Mallet and Marie-Jo Centol.

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The last two days included Vincent, Charlotte and Camille, locals we hope will become regulars if they are around at harvest time. Un grand merci et Bravo a tous!

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When the grapes look like this destined for our Grace or La Source our fearless Flying winemaker is happy. Handpicking offered us a significant advantage this year with the ability to pick areas that were ready and come back later for bits that were part of a second fruit set due to the frost.

The last last pick of a little of the second set after the frost was with our vine share harvest weekenders (link) was on 30 September. To harvest 2017! All the better for being able to toast with our own method traditional sparkling rose that arrived on 30 September in time for our final pick!

Join us for a WSET course or to learn more about organic farming and wine at out Wine school  or read Caro’s books Grape Expectations ,  Saving our Skins and latest book Glass Half Full to learn more about wine and the story of building an organic vineyard.

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