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We were in a vineyard in San Martin, Mendoza. Its owner told us about the experiences and realities that live, today, wine producers.
Saturday morning, intersection of national route 7 and lane San Pedro, 40 kilometers east of Mendoza City. Those were the coordinates set with Horacio Graffigna. It is one of the small winemakers in our province . Only a few minutes later we were walking, feeling and breathing their vineyards. It's 15 hectares planted with red grapes. Among them are tempranillo, malbec , bonarda and aspiring bouschet.
“The harvest begins in the first days of February with aspiring bouschet ,” says Horacio, referring to a rare varietal. Then follow the tempranillo. At the end of February, malbec is harvested and finally in March, bonarda. “ It can be harvested manually or mechanically. Malbec, planted on backbacks, is harvested with a machine, as the shape of the back allows the machine to pass over. 3 hectares are harvested in one morning, it is healthier and more effective for producers.”
In these times there is not much labor, there are no 20 or 30 harvesters needed per day. “ People prefer to do other jobs . Or some think that if they come and we put them blank to harvest, they lose plans. But I don't think that's the case,” Horacio confesses. “The reality of producers is that the kilo of grapes is not sold to what would have to be sold. I have to sell 10 kilos of grapes to get a litre of diesel oil for the tractor to come and work the farm . This year it's paying too low a kilo. For example, grape aspiring bouschet, 3 years ago, was paid at 35 pesos a kilo, while this year it is paid at 9 . And in that period we have had increased inputs, irrigation electricity and labor, but grapes are cheaper.”
“There is always the hope that you can improve. Sometimes there are 3 or 4 years bad and then comes one where the price improves and the producers breathe a little. A new harvest brings more hope.”
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Publication Date: 03/06/2020
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