We are continuing to place posts written by John Worontschak, our international London-based winemaking consultant, after his visiting Fanagoria Estate Winery. This time it was late August, nearly beginning of the harvesting season. And John was not alone - he came with Dr R. Smart, one of the world's leading vine experts.
My last visit 20-25 August saw the harvest in almost full swing. Some 1500 tonnes of grapes had already been harvested for the Sparkling wine bases and some NR Sauvignon Blanc. It has been a very early start to the season and due to the large amounts of rain both vigour and disease pressure are high with some patches of botrytis evident. We are hoping now for dry weather which given the earliness of the season should lead to a high quality ripe reds.
I came with worldwide vine expert Dr Richard Smart. Richard has had a long and illustrious career in the academic and commercial worlds of viticulture and his report will be very interesting to help us move further up the quality scale producing better and better grapes.
We had a fascinating dinner with two of the worlds great vine men. Professor Maltabar(aged 87) who is the most prominent and influential grape educator and grower of the ex Soviet Union and Richard Smart (aged 67) who is his western counterpart. Two wise men who shared remarkable stories and also attitudes to grape-growing. Both older men who have not lost the love of travelling and learning and have a passion for quality grape-growing that has not diminished with the years. A great evening that I was privileged to be at.