As promised, we did start harvest yesterday – picking the Cinsault, which lies in the middle of the vineyard. We brought in only a small crew, and with the 4 of them and Mr. Marignane and myself, we were done by noon.

Then it was on to the cellar. As you can see in this picture, there are large bins attached to the rear of the tractor – which allows the pickers to dump their small buckets, and then the tractor will move them on to the cellar. And with 2 tractors, it makes for a continuous flow of grapes from vineyard to cellar.

Once at the cellar door, its into the destemmer-crusher and then into the press ( because you need to press off the skins right away to get that lovely pale rosy color.

Here is the tractor unloading into the destemmer – pretty easy and without much manual labor – letting gravity do as much of the work as possible. The hose at the bottom of the photo leads from the must pump (beneath the destemmer/crusher) to the press.

We, Mr. Marignane ( Julien) and I – finished it all – destemmed, crushed, and pressed into the tank – by about 6:00 pm, including clean-up of the destemmer, pump, press, hoses and ourselves.

This first day was small – only about 1 1/2 tons of fruit. Next week will take about 3 days to pick the Grenache – all 35 tons.

The Cinsault is now in-tank, with yeast added, and beginning fementation.

More to follow as we go.