THIS year the grapes are in excellent
condition, since the vines themselves are very healthy and the maturing process has been trouble free. The signs are that the harvest will produce an excellent wine with high alcoholic strength. Miquel Feliu, secretary of the Majorcan Plain wine growers' association regulating body, was speaking about this year's grape harvest. In this particular wine growing region, the harvest began last Monday and we have to cover an area of some 270 hectares of vineyards. The grape varieties consist of at least five types of white and eight of black grapes. Feliu added, however, that in any event, production levels will be less than other years because the rain during the summer of last year did quite a lot of damage to the vines. Excess damp affects them. The harvest wasn't good last year and the grape didn't reach an adequate strength. Ramón Servalls, from the Macià Batle bodega in Santa Maria del Camí, belonging to the Binissalem wine growers' association, agreed with Feliu and reported we've begun the harvest early in comparison to other years, since we've had no rain for months and the strong sun has ripened the grapes quickly. We've begun with the chardonnay white grape variety that we can't afford to leave any longer on the vine. It's at its peak of maturity. He finished by saying the wine growers' association of Binissalem accounts for 490 hectares of vineyards, also comprising several varieties, the most characteristic of the area being the manto negro'. The beginning of the wine harvest totally transforms the Majorcan countryside; tranquility gives way to the comings and goings of grape-laden tractors, whose journeys from the vineyards to the bodegas have to be made as quickly as possible because once the grapes are severed from the vine, the fermentation process is set in motion. The wine making process needs to be done under cover and not out in the fields as this could damage its quality.