A good job Mr C has plenty of forklift miles under his belt
It has often felt, since we started here at Polgoon, that every time we take a couple of steps forward it's followed by a massive step back.
This summer has been great, a big relief to all farmers, then just as harvest approaches the rain starts, not just rain but humidity levels that are a delight for fungi!
As our beautiful, long awaited and abundant crop reaches levels of ripeness perfect for making delicious wine, the sugar levels in the grape berries also reach the optimum for diseases like botrytis to feed and spread. So to stop this happening we have no choice but to pick now, so it was all hands in the vineyard on Saturday.
Alex and his team who have worked so hard all year caring for the vines did not hesitate in working all hours to get the harvest in. The forecast of pouring rain for once did not materialise and by the end of the day our first tank was full.
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The same procedure Sunday saw another tank full, so far one red and one white, good sugar levels and acceptable levels of acidity, in the words of No 1 daughter, this juice tastes "sweet as!" Unfortunately, the weather is not letting up, harvest is going well and the volumes are exceeding expectations, but with three massive new shiny tanks still on their sides and more grapes on the trailer ready to go into the press something drastic had to happen.
Although the concrete plinth is down, the new building is far from ready, but to leave the grapes on the vine was just going to allow any disease to spread rapidly. The only option was for Mr C to move one of the new tanks into the storage space behind the Deli. With just enough room in that part of the barn to take the 3.5 metre tank, the decision was made. Easier said than done, completing the manoeuvre was going to take every bit of skill and experience. Luckily, whether it's boxes of fish or crates of wine and cider, Mr C has plenty of forklift miles under his belt. The tank was taken around the winery, through the 3.5 metre gap between winery and house wall, without enough space to slide a piece of paper in, and very, very slowly raised upright inside the barn. There's no room for anything else now but it fits! The engineer working on the new building has rigged some temporary refrigeration around the shiny tank to ensure a gentle, temperature controlled fermentation and the latest trailer of grapes is being tipped. The press is rolling again and the next few litres of sweet rich juice from grapes at Polgoon is running. Another step forward!
Kim Coulson runs Polgoon vineyard, near Penzance, with husband John. Visit polgoon.co.uk.