autumn

News from Harvest 2019

News from Harvest 2019 4032 3024 eliza

This year’s Summer at the Vidacycle farm has been so exciting – it’s brought us our first grape harvest since the devastating fire we had in 2017. We’re completely in awe of the resilience of our amazing País vines, which have mostly recovered from their burns. Some of the old trunks were too damaged to continue their growth, but their strong tap roots have created new life – shoots can be seen emerging from the ground. Many of the old trunks are still growing though, and we ended up harvesting just as many grapes as in previous years!

Resilience is really important to us on our farm – we see it as essential for creating a sustainable system that can survive droughts and fire, as these are all part of nature’s pattern in Chile. This year’s harvest was a real gift from the land, and we’re excited to learn more from our vines in the coming years. The País grape that grows from our vineyards in Chile is pretty special, and has a long and fruitful history. Check out our recent blog all about País here to learn all about it.

We thinned out some of the green grapes on the vine in Spring time (January), which we use to make our Agraz. This thinning process is also important because it allows the sun to reach the grapes on the vine, and the sun’s rays are essential in the ripening process, and in creating sugars in the grapes. We began our Tinte harvest in March – which was a little later than usual because it had been a fairly cool and dry start to the year. We also trialled something different this year, and left some grapes for a later harvest in April. These late grapes were noticeably darker red in colour, and sweeter and less tangy than those collected in March – we were reminded of the grapes we collected for our 2014 Tinte. We can’t wait to taste the final product of our learnings!

Another thing we noticed during the later harvest in April was the real abundance of wildlife also keen to taste the sweetening grapes. There were lots of birds and wasps enjoying the harvest alongside us, so it felt like a balancing act to make sure we could get our share of the grapes before they all disappeared! We love seeing the benefits of our ecological approach to farming – with no chemicals or irrigation, the landscape can support all kinds of life, and this is so important to us.

Our 2019 grapes are bubbling away as you read this – we are always astonished by just how quickly the fermentation process begins, especially as we don’t add any yeast. Our grapes are teeming with their own natural life!

Our harvest is all about bringing our community together, and celebrating the grapes that have grown. We’re really excited to announce that we’ll be launching ‘Friend of the Farm’ in June, where you’ll be able to subscribe to our wine community, and receive all kinds of special benefits – including an invitation to come out and visit our vineyard! Stay tuned for more info about Friend of the Farm… 

TINTE bottling

TINTE bottling 559 397 Abby

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We just bottled some of the 2014 TINTE wine. It’s a natural wine with a delicious and distinctive flavour lovingly crafted from our dry farmed and very old Pais vines. We add no pesticides, fertilisers or even water to the vines – they get everything from the soil below and skies above. Once the grapes have been harvested they are put in the wooden press and then the juice is kept in barrels until fermentation stops and the wine is ready, again we add nothing but just listen to the natural rhythm of the process. TINTE really gives you the raw flavours of our varied soil and nature’s yeast.

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As you can see from the pictures below even the bottling process is low-key and done with great care so that each bottle is filled with the tastes of Fundo Meza.IMG_2822

moon rise

moon rise 559 397 Abby

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The majestic moon gleams as dusk descends. Everything is incredibly still.

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butternut

butternut 150 150 Abby

hanging grapes

hanging grapes 150 150 Abby

grapes

The  parrón (pergola) is heavy with all the ripe grapes ready to be plucked off and eaten. There are multiple different varieties planted along the walkway – many of which are delicious eating grapes.

comedor

comedor 150 150 Abby

comedor

In our experience great wholesome food is central to a good quality of life – and what makes great food even better is great company. This is why we are building the ‘comedor’ or communal dining space. During the week lunches and dinners for those on the farm will be cooked and served here whilst at weekends we will create a unique food experience for many people to enjoy. The building is still under construction but we are excited about the opportunities this space will offer.

red returns

red returns 150 150 Abby

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The rich autumnal colours frame the panoramic views perfectly. These photos were taken just after the first heavy rain of the season, the dry grasses will soon return to being green.

autumn

olive trees

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olive trees

The baby olive trees that were planted in 2008 have grown into confident looking young trees with only a bit of pruning and hand watering along the way. So far they have survived multiple late frosts, long drier periods and a few pests here and there – pretty resilient plants.

eucalyptus greens

eucalyptus greens 150 150 Abby

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quince

quince 150 150 Abby

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Quince are one of the last fruits of the season to become ripe – a real delicacy when cooked down into dulce de membrillo and eaten with Manchego cheese.

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