by Marco Montez
This weekend marks the beginning of the most exciting time of the year for me as a winemaker... harvest. It’s the culmination of 10 long months of hard work in the vineyards. Grape growers endure difficult weather, pests and other challenges, but never lose site of their ultimate goal… to deliver great fruit to the winery. Now people like me take over the fruit and have the responsibility of guiding it into this wonderful beverage we call wine.
Harvest means crush which is quickly followed by fermentation... and to me there is nothing more thrilling than the sound, the smell, the touch of a fermentation. A fermentation reminds us of how powerful nature is... an unstoppable force. In the days that precede harvest, I get this same feeling I had on Christmas Eve as a kid. Couldn’t quite fall asleep... couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning. For the past three years, my harvest season begins in the middle of September at PENADA, the family vineyard in Northern Portugal. Here I’m working mostly with red wines. Then back in Massachusetts I turn my focus into Travessia’s white wines. In all, it’s about 8 weeks of craziness.
In the meantime... There’s an Ebola outbreak that seems to be getting worse. Young girls are still being kidnapped in Nigeria. Al Qaeda hasn’t gone away, and now there’s ISIS, an even more radical organization. I don’t really have much time to watch TV or read the news, but one has to be living in a cave to not be aware of our troubled world. Then we all have our own personal issues to deal with... maybe it’s a friend that passed away unexpectedly, or a loved one that isn’t doing so well. So in the midst of all this harvest excitement I try to remind myself that it’s all a bit insignificant. It’s just wine.
But I’m incapable of hiding my excitement. This is what I live for. So in the coming days and weeks, excuse me if I seem self-absorbed.