While the summer is fading slowly, the grapes are covered with a dark film that lets off plumes of sweet dust : Scientists call it « botrytis Cirinea » winemakers « noble rot. »
Manipulating the grapes in these conditions requires a lot of experience and skill. Independent winemaker Vincent Rousserie, whose vineyard is in the heart of the certified region of Monbazillac, trusts his pickers to pick these clusters that are worth their weight in gold.
Early in the morning while the mist just starts to rise, the team crouch in front of rows of vines and get to work filling their baskets. Boots sink into the ground that is wet from the previous day’s rain. Their hands become sticky. It is back breaking work.
The operations boss, Vincent drives the tractor that pulls the cart of grapes. Despite the ruts which separate the vines, he tries to get closer to his harvesters, « picking grapes is bad enough, I don’t want to inflict any additional punishment, » says the winemaker.
The harvest promises to be bountiful. The grapes are sun-drenched and covered in noble rot. The bottom of the baskets is covered with a layer of sand blown by the Sirocco winds that originate in the Sahara desert.