Martin Krajewski, owner of Ch de Sours in Entre-Deux-Mers and Clos Cantenac in St-Émilion, sends this report, adding that as of yesterday he has now harvested 50 tonnes of grapes in what has been 'a difficult year so far'.
It is six am on Monday 16 September and still cold and dark outside. The temperature is a nice, chilly 8ºC and everything is ready to go at Ch de Sours as we prepare to start the 2013 harvest. I have a quick moment's reflection, over a cup of coffee and croissant, that in 2011 we actually finished harvest on 17 September. This looks like a long campaign.
Maybe it won't go the full seven weeks of 2012 but as I can't even see us starting the reds for another three weeks, we could well be in for a late October finish. Anyway, by 6.30 am I am up at the winery and the team are ready to start picking our young Sauvignon Blanc which is planted just outside the cellar. Less than 30 minutes later, the fruit starts to come in. It's also going to be a big day as we've got an unusually large team in place, but we are keen to make a good start and expect to be flat out until late afternoon.
At about nine am there is a light shower and it continues to rain off and on for about two hours, but it is really so slight that we carry on regardless. By late morning we already have over 10 tonnes of fruit in and the yield looks really good, so we have opted to use our big press and the target now is to try to harvest about three hectares today.
At midday we break for a quick lunch and the temperature nudges a balmy 18ºC but the skies are still grey and so we press on. The afternoon passes quickly and as the fruit continues to come in, we're pleasantly surprised by the quality and yield.
At just after seven pm and with 30 tonnes of wonderful fruit in the press, we call a halt. It's been a very good first day, completely without incident and on top of that we have enough juice in tank to produce around 30,000 bottles if all goes well - that's a very good result indeed.
Tomorrow - well that's another day!