The origins of hand harvesting

The origins of hand harvesting

The origins of hand harvesting 1282 1920 Château Cantenac Brown

On this first day of September, the month of harvest, Château Cantenac Brown invites you on a journey through the history of hand harvesting, an ancestral practice that holds a special significance in the Médoc. Over the centuries, hand harvesting has played a pivotal role in shaping the soul of the wines from this region. Let’s delve into this history filled with passion, tradition, and excellence.

The origins of hand harvesting

The history of hand harvesting in the Médoc traces its roots back to the Roman era when the first vineyards were planted in the region. During that time, manual harvesting was the sole method available. Vintners relied on their expertise to determine the perfect moment for picking. Respect for the terroir and a deep understanding of grape varieties were already fundamental aspects of Médoc viticulture, principles that endure to this day.

The evolution during the Middle Ages

Throughout the Middle Ages, hand harvesting techniques continued to evolve. Monks, who played a central role in the development of wine making, contributed to the dissemination of viticultural knowledge. They also improved harvesting methods by introducing more stringent grape selections to ensure better quality.

Modern challenges

At the dawn of the industrial revolution, some wine regions began to adopt mechanized harvesting methods. However, the Médoc resisted this trend, with certain estates choosing to uphold the tradition despite the logistical challenges it posed.

Hand harvesting and stringent sorting

One of the distinctive characteristics of hand harvesting in the Médoc is the meticulous sorting of grapes. Harvesters carefully inspect each cluster, removing any grapes that are diseased, overripe, or underripe. This meticulous attention to detail ensures that only the finest grapes are used in the winemaking process.

The influence on the terroir

Hand harvesting plays a pivotal role in preserving and showcasing the unique terroir of the Médoc. Harvesters, in direct contact with the vines, can discern and observe the subtle nuances of the soil, vegetation, and microclimate. This invaluable experience empowers winemakers to make informed decisions that fully express the distinctive character of their terroir in each bottle.

Hand harvesting is more than just a harvesting technique; it is a reflection of a profound reverence for the land, the terroir, and Médocan winemaking culture. Every bottle of Médoc wine tells a story shaped by skilled hands that have carefully and lovingly picked the grapes, carrying on a centuries-old tradition. This story, which continues to be written with chapters of delight and excellence in the world of wine, is one that Château Cantenac Brown is proud to contribute to by producing hand-harvested wines.