The day begins; harvest season is in full swing. The sun and the moon meet under the same sky, one rising in splendour from the plains, the other edging down towards the Andes range.
The spring kept us on our toes, with small pockets of frost in the higher altitude vineyards, notably in the cool Paraje Altamira area; while in summer the heat climbed up to 40°C (104°F) on some days… a bit of a rollercoaster for the grapes, but apparently they enjoyed the ride!!! As always, we aimed at the earlier possible harvest date, to keep the limestone tension and the mountain freshness in our wines. We began harvesting Malbec in our Luján de Cuyo estate on February the 14th, while on the 27th we picked up the Bonarda from our organic vineyard. On that same day we began the harvest in the Paraje Altamira area, in the Uco Valley.
The climate conditions during the 2018 harvest were immensely favourable, with very little rain, allowing the team to pick up the grapes perfectly on schedule. After two vintages of very small volume, at last 2018 came close to normal quantities.
Many endless days of intense labour, receiving grapes up to 2am in the winery, made the team understand what it means to be an Ant: to be part of a team that works hard towards a shared goal, that of bringing some pleasure and beauty into this world.
The season for us this year has been very tiring. The planting of our Jardín Altamira vineyard was a challenge that pushed us to the limit in every possible way; the holiday season gave us a short respite, and again the ants set in motion for the harvest. The team not only worked fiercely, but also found time to keep searching and experimenting, carrying out 39 test micro-vinifications, looking for a deeper understanding of the irrigation regime, the soil types, cap management, stems usage and co-fermentations.
By March the 27th we had all our grapes under the roof of the winery and all of excellent quality, a truly fantastic vintage. It is a blessing to come to the end of all this with the sated mind of a work well done and a benign year that gifted us with the best growing conditions.
“Harvest time rocks the routine, it’s a challenge, every year the same, but completely new. It keeps us going strong because there aren’t two harvests alike: each year, each plant, each soil, each vigneron is a story of its own. There are no clone vintages and if we are not ready to learn anew every year, we are losing a great opportunity. Taking advantage of it means avoiding standardized practices of winemaking that repeat every year, and try to listen to the grapes at every vintage and learn from them, each year. The best a vigneron can do is to embrace this diversity and accept to be a part of it. No matter how intense harvest time can be, it tires the body but never bores the mind. It’s all about the challenge, our endurance and the opportunity to learn and to grow towards the discovery of Terroir and self.” – Leo Erazo