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From the vine to the glass, from the vineyard to the winery.

There are many tasks that are carried out throughout the season in the vineyards and wineries. The most important of these are detailed below. If you want more information on video, we invite you to watch the documentary, “El vino nace en la viña” (Wine is born in the vineyard); preferably with a glass of your favorite sherry.

Agostado

It consists of a deep tillage for the preparation of the land after the uprooting of the old vines. This oxygenates the soil to facilitate the planting and subsequent development of the new plant.
Plantación

It is carried out between December and January. Since the phylloxera plague, which devastated the European vineyards at the end of the 19th century and affected Jerez in 1894, American wood rootstocks, resistant to the insect, have been used.

Injerto

The European wine variety, in this case the Palomino, the queen in Jerez. The rootstock will remain underground and the implant is the aerial or visible part that will grow from the vine.
Injerto de yema

This is done on one side of the rootstock, which is then fastened with raffia and covered with soil to protect it (aporcar in Spanish). The rootstock is planted in winter to take advantage of the rains. In spring, when it has already taken root, it is time to bench graft the palomino variety.

Injerto en espiga

It consists of inserting the palomino scion bud in a cut in the rootstock. If the graft does not match, the following winter the operation is repeated.
Barbado injertado

It makes the task easier for the winegrower. The seedling comes from the nursery with the grafted vines and it only needs to be planted, usually at the beginning of the year, and wait for it to sprout.

Aserpiado

The aserpia or alumbra, another of Jerez's own viticultural techniques, was devised to retain rainwater, facilitate its absorption and prevent soil erosion. The task consists of forming small pools or wells in the lines, next to the liños, to prevent the water from being lost through the hills of the vineyard, generally oriented from north to south. In the past, this technique was done by hand and when the pool was made leaving the vine in the middle, it was called ``desbragar``.
Poda

This is the most widespread pruning method among the cooperative's members (vara y pulgar) , although in large plots, doble cordón pruning is preferred. It is better adapted to later mechanized harvesting but causes more stress to the plant. The vara y pulgar pruning, one of Jerez's great contributions to world viticulture in addition to the system of criaderas and soleras, is one of the most important moments of the year, as it determines the amount of grapes the vine will have in each campaign. In the past, vara y pulgar pruning was the best-paid task in the vineyard, so those who mastered this practice tried to keep it hidden from the view of the rest. This original pruning system is designed to favor the vegetative development of the plant and prolong the life of the vine, and usually takes place between December and January.
Laboreo

This task is carried out at the same time as pruning and before sprouting. The tilling of the soil, for which numerous machines have been used for some time, is carried out during the spring and summer. The number of tillage operations varies depending on rainfall, although as a general rule it is usually done five or six times per season.
Castra

Or green pruning, which eliminates useless shoots and corrects defects from production pruning. In spring, after the winter when the vines have been at rest, and after a break before bud break, with the flower in fruit, this important work is carried out in early spring.
Recastra

This operation is sometimes repeated and is called recastra, during which the vine growers remove those cut parts to facilitate the work of tractors and prevent treatments against diseases and pests from reaching the grapes.
Preventive treatment

The quality of the grape is determined by its health.

The vine, like any other crop, is exposed to diseases and pests that must be kept under control. The most common are downy mildew fungi and powdery mildew, renamed in the Marco as ‘cenizo’, plus gray rot and attacks by grape moth, mites and green midge. In recent years the presence of the beetle ártica has also been frequent. It was commonly found in the beet fields of the area before the reduction of this crop brought by the closing of the local sugar factories.

To maintain healthy production, various preventive treatments are applied during the annual cycle of the vine in several passes, from five to eight depending on weather conditions. Among these operations is sulfur treatment, the best remedy to combat powdery mildew and red spider. It is usually carried out during flowering. If done properly, it is sufficient to sulfur once with two passes spaced 15 to 20 days apart.

Envero

By early July, the grapes begin to ripen and change from green to yellow. It is veraison, which lasts until the beginning of the harvest, when the grapes 'give up' and reach the 10.5 degrees Baumé, the minimum alcohol potential required in Jerez for the harvesting of the palomino variety.
Pase de avión

In the same month of July ``pase de avión`` takes place. It is so called because of the winged shape of the shovels of the tractor that carry out a shallow tillage in the soil and cover the cracks in order to prevent the evaporation of the water accumulated in the subsoil. In the jargon of winegrowers, it is said that this pass irrigates the vineyard, as it seems that this shallow plowing helps the humidity to seek the surface.
Harvest

It is a great celebration in Jerez where the winegrowers gather their families to harvest the year’s crop.

In the small plots of the members of the cooperative of Las Angustias (Covi-Jerez), manual harvesting predominates, rescued by many winegrowers to safeguard the quality of the grapes after the irruption of machines in the Marco. The grape clusters are cut without interruption, with knife or scissors in hand, and transferred almost immediately to the winepresses to avoid direct exposure to the sun and to begin the wine process in the best possible conditions.

The harvest lasts approximately one month and requires a great deal of organization to ensure its success, from the cutting to the arrival at the winery. Once the grapes have reached the optimum maturity and health parameters, winegrowers tend to bring the harvest forward as much as possible to avoid adverse weather conditions, such as rain. The quality of the harvest will depend mainly on the care taken by the winegrower throughout the year.

The Cooperative-Winery

At the cooperative, which reinforces its staff at this time of the year, the grapes are weighed so as not to exceed the limits per plot, samples are taken to carry out a correct control of the quality of the grapes, and they are dumped into large receiver hoppers for pressing to obtain the must. The trucks arrive at the winery in the main yard of the cooperative in organized shifts to avoid unwanted fermentations.

The first must, obtained without decanting pressure, is the most highly valued and is called ‘first must press’ (primera yema). The rest of the must or ‘second must press’ (segunda yema) is obtained after applying a pressure of 70%, the maximum allowed by the Control Board regulations. To get an idea of the volume of work involved in the harvest, the cooperative presses an average of 1.2 million kilos of grapes per day (2.6 million lb), although its record is 2 million kilos (4.4 million lb).

Everything is used from the grape. In the pressing process, the stem, the pipe and the skin of the grape are removed.  This rest, after filtering, serve us to obtain a product called borujo, from which we distill wine alcohol to be added to sherry wine to increase its alcoholic content, to fortify it.

After preparing the musts to avoid oxidation and contamination and guaranteeing their aromatic finesse, they are poured into the fermentation tanks. A practice that at the beginning of the cooperative was done in wine butts using the old method. There they waited for the arrival of the cold weather at the end of November, which stopped the fermentation process. That is why the old Spanish saying goes ‘Por San Andrés, el mosto vino es’. Nowadays fermentation is carried out in large tanks at a controlled temperature

The wine alcohol obtained from the “borujo“ is added to this young wine of the year. If it is destined for biological aging under “velo de flor” as fino, the adding will reach up to 15 degrees, and up to 18 degrees for future oxidative aging Oloroso wines. In the aging cellar, the barrels are arranged for aging by the traditional system of criaderas y soleras, another great contribution of the Marco to world viticulture.

Criaderas y soleras

The Criaderas y Soleras system is our method of aging wine.

The sherry cask has a capacity of 600 liters, double than those used for aging of still wines (white or red). New must of the year refreshes the first criadera, (those butts containing the youngest wine). The refreshed part is racked to the following line of butts in the scale in sequence, until it reaches the necessary aging in the solera, (the last row of butts named from being the closest to the soil). From there, the wine is extracted for its commercialization and consumption a few years later.

The cooperative’s oenologists supervise the entire process, frequently tasting the butts to monitor the evolution of the wine. The tasting of the youngest wines, which occupy the uppermost rows of the butts, is carried out with the help of an “arrumbador”, who climbs up to the last row of the butts and throws the “venencia” to the foreman, who receives it and checks the evolution of the wine. This operation is known as venenciar en 3a.

The cooperative’s oenologist marks the butts with chalk. These marks are very traditional in the Marco de Jerez, and identify the evolution of the wines. If it evolves into a Vino Fino, a diagonal line is drawn. But it sometimes may deviate during aging towards a Palo Cortado. Then another horizontal line will be added to the previous. Olorosos are marked with a circle and Amontillados are marked with a symbol that resembles the letter ‘A’.

Wine Shop or wine office

Here you can find Fino Sin Pecado, the cooperative's first commercial brand, followed by the 'Romerito' range of Amontillado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Cream and Pedro Ximénez. This was followed by our Vinegar and Vermouth. In addition to the cooperative's wines and vinegars, a range of local food products is available in the shop, from Olive oil to cured meats and cheeses that combine perfectly with our wines.