24 Apr Harvest in the Margaret River, Australia
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a harvest at one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions? Well, from my firsthand experience, it’s something that all wine lovers should see at least once!
Because of the summer heat, harvest days in Australia’s Margaret River wine region start early –even before the sun has slid above the gumtrees. Because the days can touch the 30s Celsius/90’s Fahrenheit, harvest starts under the lights during the cool of the night.
It was a bit of a shock to be up, camera ready and in the vineyards at 4.30am! But, it was completely worth it. With a slight chill in the air, an enormous pale blue sky and the promise of a golden sunrise, it is a magical time. Steve James, the Manager Winemaking and Viticulture at Voyager Estate, invited me to film him and his crew as they harvested their very special Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
When we arrived, the crew was expertly and lovingly clipping grape bunches from the vines and gently placing them in large buckets. Once full, the buckets were transferred onto a tractor sled driving between the rows of vines. Jumping on the tractor (wouldn’t you?), I was amazed at the picking team’s speed and precision. During harvest, time is one thing that’s absolutely of the essence and the crew wasn’t wasting any.
Once the sleds reached capacity, the overflowing buckets of ripe grapes were then transported to the sorting facility. The sorting machine is a gigantic steel contraption that removes the unnecessary leaves or debris before depositing them on a conveyer belt. Then it’s time for one last look over from the well-trained sorting staff and all that’s left are perfect berries advancing to the next step in the wine making process.
It was an amazing, inspirational and educational morning but we weren’t done! After a walk back through the vineyards, we headed to the spectacular Dutch-inspired main building and to the VIP tasting room. It was time to taste some incredible Voyager Estate Margaret River wine!
It was such a wonderful experience seeing the harvest and to taste the end product from previous vintages. I will certainly be back.
For more about Voyager Estate, go to www.voyagerestate.com.