2022 – 40th Harvest at Castro Martin – Day 3

September 11th, 2022 | Bodega

I’m sure that I have mentioned the increase in grape prices in Rias Baixas. We are now seeing one kilo of grapes having double the value that it did only two years ago. In the end it comes down to two things, firstly, supply and demand and secondly those who can afford (or are willing) to pay these wildly exaggerated price. As if this isn’t enough, the other market that is under a huge amount of pressure this year is the labour market. There is an acute shortage of people to gather the fruit. Yet again, the larger, richer bodegas can afford to pay higher rates than the smaller, family bodegas – it seems that when it comes to paying grapes and attracting pickers, then money is no object for these big companies. I have no doubt, that once the money is paid, and they have the wine that they need, then the bottle price itself will probably be heavily and artificially subsidised too!

I wrote back in July I wrote about one particularly unscrupulous bodega that was at the epicentre of the surge in grape prices. Well, it appears that the very same cellar might have been employing some rather creative ways of producing more wine, such as bringing in grapes from other wine regions. I should add that this is, as yet, unproved, but that the Xunta of Galicia, the office of Fraudes (fraud) and our own D.O. are taking this very seriously, so much so that extensive investigations have been taking place. The result of this is that our D.O. office have released new, stricter guidelines for the 2022 harvest. Not only that, but there has been a much greater and more visible police presence on the streets, stopping trucks and tractors to check the origins of their loads. Only yesterday we had a group of police at the front of our very own bodega (although we have absolutely nothing to hide)!

Saturday is always one of our busiest days (a popular day for picking), and so the grapes flowed thick, fast but thankfully at quite an even pace. As mentioned before the grapes this year are ripe and healthy albeit that the alcohol is probably slightly higher than we would have liked.

Today’s drama with machinery was our case washing machine, which decided to work only intermittently. Absolutely not a problem on a busy day when cases have to be washed and re-cycled quickly!

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