First harvest at Chiesa del Carmine
We are pleased to announce the conclusion of the first harvest at our new winery on the Carmine Estate. This exciting time began with the transportation of our existing tanks and equipment from Palazzone, Orvieto, where we have made our wines previously and concluded with nearly 30 tonnes of fruit fermenting in the tanks in our new winery as it is slowly transformed into delicious Chiesa del Carmine wine.
Behind the scenes, there has been a lot of hard work to get ready. Even a pandemic can’t stop nature and our fruit from ripening on their vines in the Umbrian sunshine, but it has slowed the pace of the factories producing our new tanks and equipment and the local authorities’ ability to process our paperwork. The final building works of the new winery ground almost to a halt as we observed social distancing in the workplace and associated challenges, to make sure all staff and contractors could work safely and efficiently.
Our new assistant winemaker, Charlene Guitton, from Epernay in France has worked tirelessly under the watchful eye of our consultant winemaker, Giovanni Dubini, to get everything in place and then throughout harvest. Each stainless steel tank was washed meticulously to ensure the best conditions for the storage of our wines, a refrigeration line for the tanks holding our white wines and roses was built to manage the fermentation and a harvest plan was hatched. This plan would allow us to carefully schedule the movements of each grape variety as it ripens, is hand-harvested and transported into the winery and then as its juice is pumped into its appropriate tank to begin the fermentation process.
Everything during the harvest has so far gone to plan. Our new equipment, the de-stemmer, press and pumps worked well. Our pressing programs were adapted to each grape variety and every step of the winemaking process was calculated to get the grapes from the vines and into the tank without compromising quality. Charlene will monitor every tank at least twice daily until the end of the alcoholic fermentation and Giovanni has been a continual presence, offering a guiding hand and giving us the benefit of his years of experience. We are fortunate to have someone with 42 vintages under their belt by our side to guide us.
We are pleased to announce the quality of the fruit in 2020 is excellent and this fuels the expectation of a vintage to be remembered. This grape growing season has been positive with high rainfall in November and December 2019 allowing our water reserves on the Carmine Estate to be restored, while the following months continued without any particular climatic problems. Production quantities were comparable with 2019, and with our own working winery on-site, we are now in a position to better manage the processes involved in making great wines.
Our next challenge is the transfer of our French Oak Barrels from Orvieto to our new winery and then to find space for them all. We will continue to welcome wine-loving visitors who would like to witness first hand the transformation of a fallen-down barn into a modern winemaking facility.