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Eduardo Hernáiz from Hermanos Hernáiz introduces his estates in Rioja Alta – including the most famous one, Finca La Emperatriz – and harvest 2021…
“The main difference in Rioja Alta is altitude. In Rioja the climate is more Mediterranean, in the East, down from Logrono river and a more continental climate near the West.
Finca La Emperatriz has a totally continental climate at nearly 600m above sea level.
This year has been really good, there has been very little rainfall but it rained at the end of the summer, the plants didn’t suffer, it was cool, a fantastic year!
We first made wine in 2000 and we started to focus on quality in 2003, 2004. We were starting to understand the vineyards and travel to understand differences. Above all La Emperatriz from other wines that are on the market where you have a unique story to tell, and make a wine with unique characteristics, making wine in different ways, and especially working the land differently.
We started to harvest on the 20th September. It’s about 5 to 6 weeks but we stopped for a week, because moving from one area to another means that you may have to wait for a couple of days, give it a bit more time to ripen. And then like today, it starts to get complicated because we’ll want to pick many places at once.
We used to make volume forecasts. We spent a huge amount of time counting and weighting the bunches and we still do measure the size of the grape but now there are 3 guys, the vineyard manager, the foreman and Oscar the winemaker and they make a wager, and then we take the average and so far, they are only about 3% out.”
Watch the video here