With the picking over, and our tanks filled with fresh grape must, we switch into deep clean mode. The sticky juice just gets everywhere – floors, walls, stairs, door handles – you name it. Then of course, there is the equipment – tanks, presses, pumps, hoses, not to mention the odd couple of thousand baskets that we use to collect the fruit – all covered with a gluey, syrup-like coating. The pressure washers are working overtime.
Seeding the tanks is about to begin, but in the meantime we also have to spend time in the office analysing the cost of this year’s operation. In addition to the overtime accrued by our own full-time staff we also examine in detail the costs of our casual staff (picking team), and consider how this may or may not affect our future tariffs. The final bottle price not only relates to the price of grapes, but also to every single cost associated with handling them. In Rias Baixas where only manual picking can be used, regrettably this is never cheap.
In recent years we have collected detailed information of all these incidental costs in order that we can compare the efficiency of each campaign, and make adjustments where necessary. In addition to this, Angela keeps records of every single grape, and it’s path through the cellar, giving us complete traceability of every step in the winemaking process.
Thank heavens for Excel!