Birds&Bats Wine Productions - Wines of Momentary Destination
WMD are in Istria, Croatia. That’s the heart’ish shaped outcrop on the NW of the country. Bats has been there for a month now. The harvest is in and the ferments are ticking away.
It’s been a tricky season for the grape growers out here. Let us give it to you straight. Straight like a pear cider made from 100% pears. Like the sodden, flooded vineyards of the Languedoc, Istria’s growing season has been moist to say the least and occasionally lake-like.
The plan was to make a white. Using a little Chardy and in the main the indigenous Malvazija. The Chardonnay was called off pretty much as soon as Bats arrived. Things weren’t looking good as the heavens refused to close. The storms rumbled through again and again. With yields down from a patchy flowering in the whites the humidity began to have it’s way with the less disease resistant varieties.
Birds&Bats remained hopeful during these few weeks. But, it soon dawned on them that any wine produced from these bloated, disease-ridden berries, was not going to be on par with the previous wines they had made. Bats called it off and got in touch with Birds in London to deliver the fateful news…”It’s a wash out.”
It was a fretful week. But all was not lost. No! Above all the will to live remained. The hunt was now on for some reds. There was talk of some Cabernet, on higher ground, that was up for grabs and Bats jumped on it like a hunting spider (imagine that, if you will). Good old Cab. Resistant to disease, these hard wearing little berries can take a bit of extra rainfall. The sugars were low a few weeks back so Bats rolled the dice. With the weather forecast as a homepage, he watched, waited and waited. Then sun came, the sugars rose, the grapes ripened and all was well in the world.
So, it was an early start for Bats last week and he managed, with the wonderful team at Wine Station Trapan, to bring in approximately 3 tonnes of the stuff. Go Team!
It’s a relief to say the least and Birds&Bats’ frowns have been turned upside down. Things are certainly brighter. Especially when you get to play around with grapes like this.
We have all the wood all means and all the will to live for this next project. A rocky start to this story, but Birds&Bats are no strangers to adversity. In fact, they positively chuckle in its face…it’s what this whole project is all about, really…
Birds is currently assisting the winemaker at London Cru winery in South West London and the winged duo are utilising the miracle of social media and email to figure things out together whilst being far apart (once the harvest is done in the UK, Birds will pop over to Croatia and flap about a bit).
Due to the disjointed nature of this harvest, it’s best to catch us on Twitter and follow us on facebook for more fun photos and current affairs.
So much for random tweets and pretty pictures. What the hell have I (Bats) been doing?
At this point I would love to say ‘God knows’ and lead you to believe that I might have turned to the dark-side, or worse still, into Mr. Natural himself. Sadly I can’t say that I have become the next winemaker to toss some grapes into a gully, let them fizzle of their own accord and semi-sieve the murk into a dusty bottle for your drinking ‘pleasure’. Therefore, I have kept the winemaking as ‘real dude’ as feasibly possible, without loosing the plot and forgetting that science is in fact, pretty real too.... dude.
To back track a bit, we managed to find some grapes. I am in Istria where fruit was scarce this year. We were very lucky to find some top quality Cabernet Sauvignon. Then the grapes ripened and it was soon time to call the harvest date.
Coincidence has it that I decided to pick this Cab., on a full moon…..spookily, on the cusp of a fruit day. I know this because me and ol’ Dolf Steiner regularly Skype. Although he got the days mixed up and now assures me that it was in fact more of a leafy day. Just when I thought I was a real, natural .... Ho Hum. Hup Ho.
In reality, Dolf is repulsed by Skype and the picking was based upon logic, sugars, phenolic ripeness, hungry animals, incoming rain and some more logic. I am not saying the moon didn’t have a big sway on the harvest date. It was there, big, round and totally real. Lets say it swayed my decision, as much as the fear of incoming aircraft, carrying coach load of 'potential' Ebola.