Winemaking is a complex and fascinating process that takes place throughout the year. When it comes to giving birth to the best Albariños, there is always something to do. The Pazo Baión team is well aware of this, made up of winegrowers and winemakers who put all their experience, effort, and know-how at the service of the unique single-estate Albariños. And although all the phases are important, there is an especially transcendent one that demonstrates that winemaking is a choral task: the harvest. Over the centuries, the art of harvesting has been refined, always based on extreme care for the raw material: the grape.
Harvesting is a key moment in any agricultural activity. Apples are harvested to be sold or to make cider. And the same happens with olives. Or with any fruit that we can think of. The human being has been harvesting the goods that nature offers us since the beginning of time. But the art of harvesting goes beyond the mere gathering of grapes.
That is why we can call this process an art. A task that is characterized by respect for nature, teamwork, and the establishment of a collective state of mind, in which effort and dedication are combined with emotions and respect for an ancient tradition.
Anyone who has participated in this process knows that there is something poetic about the art of harvesting.
Blending in with nature
Throughout history, people have entered many natural spaces like elephants in a china store. Some human interventions have degraded landscapes and natural raw materials. With vine cultivation, this does not happen. Vineyards are beautiful places where nature and people coexist in a wise balance.
So much so that when a grape harvester is carrying out his valuable task, he is overcome by a strange sensation: he feels as if he is part of the natural enclave in which he finds himself. As if his presence has the same meaning as that of the vines and grapes. No matter how hard we try to describe it, it is something that can only be experienced while carrying out the art of harvesting.
When the first bunches begin to be harvested, everything is amazing. The feel of the grapes. The interaction with the vines. The freshness of the leaves. The infinite greenery that fills our field of vision. The gestures we have to make with our hands. The movements our bodies make to reach the grapes. Although we may not realize it, the art of harvesting is, above all, a ritual. A set of actions refined over the centuries that allow us to harvest the grapes combining care and efficiency.
The value of effort and the development of coordinated tasks
First and foremost, the art of harvesting emphasizes effort and dedication. Although it is a beautiful task, in which nature transports us far from the hustle and bustle of the world, it is also a demanding activity. Trellising forces us to work our shoulders and back. Our hands are our main tool and they also get tired. But being surrounded by beauty and companions makes the effort worthwhile.
Although the people picking grapes from the vines are the most iconic image of the harvest, there are many more workers involved in the art of harvesting. From those who carry the boxes from the vineyards to the winery. To those who are in charge of the maceration of the raw material or the racking. And, of course, the people who work at the sorting table.
From the vine to the fermentation of the grape juice, several sub-phases complement each other so that the liquid that reaches the winemaking process is of extraordinary quality. After all, the art of harvesting is always at the service of making the best wines.
Being part of a community
Precisely, the existence of different sub-phases: grape picking, sorting, skin maceration, and racking, means that, although each worker has his or her tasks, everyone is rowing in the same direction.
What is achieved is the emergence of an extraordinary sense of community. All the processes up to the start of fermentation are carried out over a limited and limited period. Intense days in which people have time to get to know each other, between the effort and the grapes.
All the actions are perfectly synchronized with each other and that, too, strengthens the feeling of being part of something bigger, of a collective enterprise in which everyone gives the best of themselves. The art of harvesting is not exercised by the «I», but by the «we».
Treating the grapes with care to extract the best from them
The grape pickers and the people at the sorting table have to carry out their work with the utmost care and delicacy. The most important thing, always, is to guarantee the quality of the grapes.
Therefore, harvesting involves patience and meticulousness. Cutting the bunches carefully and placing them in the boxes with care to avoid damaging the grapes. This is magnified at the sorting table. The workers have to supervise the quality of the grapes, and their state of ripeness and eliminate any leaves that may have slipped into the box.
The objective is to ensure that the raw material is excellent and that the best can be extracted from the grapes that have been carefully cultivated over the months. From there, the Pazo Baión grapes go to the macerators, where they remain between 4 and 6 hours, to extract all the aromatic precursors.
The most resulting from this process will have to be racked. Another action that must be carried out with precision is to remove the most solid parts of the must and the remains of pulp and obtain the clean must that will be subjected to fermentation to make Pazo Baión’s single-estate Albariños.
The culmination of the grapes. The starting point of the wine
During the fascinating and intense days of the grape harvest, the culmination of the grapes is experienced and celebrated. What began after the well-deserved rest of the vines concludes now with the grapes fully ripe and ready to become delicious albariños.
Once the clean must is obtained, fermentation inaugurates the essential moments of winemaking. A series of processes calibrated to the millimeter by the winemakers will allow the must to become complex albariños, full of life and personality, which stand out for their structure and long development in the mouth. Pazo Baión’s Albariños: Vides de Fontán, Gran a Gran and, of course, our prodigal son: Pazo Baión, Best Young White Wine of Spain in 2021 according to the Gourmet Guide.
For all these reasons, although the harvest is, in part, the end of one journey, it is, above all, the beginning of another. The point at which the vineyards hand over the baton to the winery. Fermentation, batonage, clarification, and bottling will take place in its entrails. Transforming, definitively, the grapes in albariños of payment ready to be enjoyed by wine lovers.
From the art of harvesting to the art of tasting.
The art of harvesting in the micro-universe of Pazo Baión
If there is something magical about the grape harvest in almost everyone, at Pazo Baión this sensation is magnified. Why?
First of all, because it is carried out solely and exclusively from the grapes of our vineyards. That is to say, not a single grape enters the winery from outside. They have all been harvested by the Pazo Baión grape harvesters. This enhances the feeling of community that is formed.
Secondly, Paz Baión is not just another estate. We are talking about a property with five centuries of history where vines have been cultivated since time immemorial. A corner where history and wine go hand in hand. A fascinating space that stands out for its breathtaking beauty and the careful balance established between man and nature.
Thirdly, each small plot of Pazo Baión is harvested independently, analyzing and tasting the grapes and controlling the ripening process. Since there are more than 50 meters of altitude between the highest and the lowest plots of our estate, which translates into half a degree of alcoholic difference and ripening times.
The art of harvesting could not find a better workshop than Pazo Baión.