We are very pleased to introduce a new member of our Winery team, Roger Bacon, who has joined Rathfinny as Assistant Winemaker. In his blog, Roger reflects on his early days of joining us during the height of the pandemic and looks forward to the exciting challenge of his first Rathfinny Harvest.

Roger

I joined Rathfinny at the beginning of April and experienced a quiet start to a new job due to the pandemic. Initially, I only met a handful of people in person such as essential Winery and Production workers and mostly worked alongside the Head Winemaker, Jonathan. It was a pleasant surprise when parts of the Estate reopened at the end of May and I got to see customers visiting the new Cellar Door, followed by Vineyard picnics and takeaway seafood in July.

Having just come back from a couple of week’s holiday, relaxing after bottling the 2019 vintages, I was reminded of when I started. This was due to the moving of our seafood offering from the Tasting Room to the Flint Barns, so there were fewer people in our vicinity, spread safely around the Estate. As the summer activities wind down and the mornings become dewy and crisp, I feel the approach of my most exciting time of the year, Vintage.

All of a sudden harvest feels near, the tanks are empty, and the lab has been taken over by our Vineyard Technician, Stan so he can work through all the plots, checking the levels of sugar and acid in the berries. There is something very exciting about looking through the window and seeing bunches of grapes, then looking on Vintrace (a wine production software) and seeing graphs showing how the berries are ripening. Now we have started cleaning tanks and the presses, giving the pumps a pre-harvest check and generally getting prepared for when the first grapes arrive.

Big Grape Box
Last year’s grapes ready to be pressed.

I am not sure what excites me so much about vintage. I am definitely looking forward to working with Jonathan and the team and using the equipment. You cannot beat the morale and sense of accomplishment during harvest, even if we will be following strict social distancing measures this year. Although the hours are long and I can guarantee at some point every day I will get soaking wet, there is something about it that thrills me!

Grape Press
Rathfinny grape press

To give you an insight, we will receive grapes that have been looked after so well by the Vineyard team, squish them gently and let the juice settle. Then we carefully rack the juice, add the yeast, and let it do its magic. We know what we expect to happen in the tank and can monitor what is going on but it is a bit like looking after a child. You can look after it, feed it and guide it but once it has started the fermentation is going to progress on its own path and this is part of the excitement. No two ferments will end up the same and this is where we get the subtle variations that allow for the nuances teased out in blending… but that is for next year.

If you’re interested in visiting us this Harvest time, find out what is going on at Rathfinny Wine Estate on our website: https://rathfinnyestate.com/harvest-2020