For more than 50 years, this Grand Cru Classé of Bordeaux , from the Saint-Estèphe appellation, has hired the same grape-pickers each year, from a little village in Andalusia, south of Seville in Spain.
Each year, the team leader Antonio Sanchez, sets off to the Médoc region, towards the Château Montrose, at the edge of the Gironde estuary, this is the 42nd time in his life! The vineyard’s parcels of land, of 95 hectares, no longer hold any secrets for him, just as the harvesting of fruit in general, as these professional harvesters travel around according to the harvests: melons in the summer time, then grapes and olives in the autumn, in Spain.
These Andalusian harvesters, who come from a small village in Pruna, have come here since the end of the war, a time when it was difficult to find manpower in France, whereas it was the contrary in Spain. Paul Martin, the deputy chef of culture of the Château, who speaks Spanish perfectly, is the one who briefs Antonio on the harvesting guidelines. Over time, an unfailing loyalty and true affection have developed between the two men.
«They are disciplined and very efficient, see the speed at which they cut the bunches at exactly the right place. There is fluidity and dexterity in their work», says Hervé Berland, owner of Château Montrose. A beautiful story that makes this remarkable wine, even more exceptional.
Photo by Alasdair Elmes on Unsplash