Manuel Escoda invited me to participate in his annual Harvest with friends and family in Altea la Vella , in the foothills of the Sierra de Bernia (Alicante).

His vineyard, with the vines arranged in trellis, consists of Merlot , Cabernet Sauvignon , Tempranillo and Syrah grape varieties.
In Spain, the harvest usually takes place during September. In my case, it began early in the morning, a few minutes after dawn.

Let’s revisit the whole experience:

Step 1: Manual harvesting. We hand-picked the grape bunches from the grapevines and put them into rubber baskets to take them to the sieve.

Step 2: Manual stemming. A patient process where the grapes are passed through a sieve to remove all their stems and stalks.

Step 3: Crush the grapes and fill in a steel container with the “grape juice” or must.

Step 4: Pour the must into the main Stainless Cuba where primary fermentation will be performed

We got 700 litres of must this year, quite a good production (100 more than last year for the same vineyard).

Step 5: (during about 7 days) the must has to be stirred three times every day (from the top to the bottom) in order to submerge the top hat into the must. The hat is a dried mass of grape peels floating on the must during this primary fermentation. The temperature during this process is 22-25ºC.
A daily measurement of the alcohol graduation has to be taken.
We use a refractometer, a device which calculates the amount of alcohol based on its sugar content .

Step 6: once the graduation of 13,1% Alcohol has been reached, the whole content of the Stainless Cuba has to be transferred to a clean one. The Second fermentation, called Malolactic fermentation, will be performed during approximately the next 45 days.

Once it’s done, we will transfer the young wine into the wooden barrels.
At this point, the wine will have acquired the basic aromas and tastes (fruits and flowers) typical of the grape varieties used in this case.

Step 7: Ageing process. during the next 6-12 months we will have the “young wine” in the barrel, and thanks to the “micro-oxygenation” through the wood pores, it will acquire the secondary aromas, such as Cinnamon ,Tobacco, Smoke,..and of course Wood.


After a hard day’s work, we had a great lunch and opened lots of the wine bottles we produced last year.

Yum yum! Last year’s wine was delightful !!