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The harvest, year 2022


Summer is almost coming to an end, high time to evaluate the 2022 harvest. Where shall we start? 

Harvest is the most impactful and critical process in our distillery/supply chain. Which makes sense, Bôtan Distillery is the first from field-to-table non alc distillery. 

This promise means we cannot fall back nor rely on industrialised and standardized processes...

The consequence? The output of our fields literally determine everything from the flavor complexity, the production processes and the intensity, to the maximum production. 

What factors influenced the harvest this year?  How the harvest determines the pre- and post-treatment? How the harvest determines our distillation processes, the number of cuts and the duration?

 

The gradient

We wanted to start early this year due to the fact that our stock of botanical spirits was almost exhausted and our renewed equipment was ready. The first months of 2022 passed with cold temperatures and heavy rainfall. When the temperatures took a dip again at the end of March, we waited. 

To quote Wim, our master herbalist: Patience, the ice queen hasn't left the country yet.

In the meantime, we were already able to get started in the conservatory. We sow small pots with our molecularly unique seeds. The sunny days brought the temperature in the conservatory up to standard.

From April the weather was kind to us. The mornings were cold and sunny as the evenings got longer. The arrival of spring was a fact. And the fields could be planted.

Does anyone remember the summer of 2022? This summer was dry and hot with emergencies as an unfortunate consequence. The impact on the harvest was also visible and the harvest frequently came under pressure. That is why we went looking for an additional field at the last minute.  And we found this at a self-picking farm in Nijlen, Belgium. In the month of August we planted this organic field.

This harvest year we wanted to double our production.  If Ice Queen Winter enters the country late, we will meet our target.  We hope for a warm September, moderate October and scattered rain showers.

 

A game between microclimate, terroir & craft

Taste and complexity is a creation of terroir, microclimate and intervention.

The microclimate is a game between terroir, climate and craft. The terroir of our new plantation consists mainly of loam and sand, a more challenging terroir for our herbs in contrast to our fields in Schoten. 

The microclimate influences the growing conditions. It is determined by a combination of temperature, wind direction, precipitation, but also the position of the sun. 

The third player is craft. Thanks to our knowledge and experience, we can influence the impact of the terroir and microclimate.  

In the end, nature always wins, though by communicating with nature, we can influence.

 

The impact of the microclimate in 2022

The summer was characterized by extreme heat and drought with a major impact on the harvest.  Nature is our greatest friend and also our greatest challenge.  

We’ve experienced both negative and positive impacts. Weather conditions extended the time between each harvest. This limited us to harvest fewer herbs per square meter. 

This in turn affects financial profitability and limits our production. In addition, the harvest was intense. Droughts combined with high temperatures forced us to irrigate the fields every morning and evening. Our organic approach also means that weeding is a daily task.

 

But what a taste expression we got in return.  When we tasted our leaves in the summer months, we were amazed by the flavor expressions that were built up week after week.  The negative impact of the pronounced microclimate disappeared like snow in the sun.  The dryness caused the aromas to pile up in layers. 

Our taste palettes were undoubtedly convinced: the harvest of 2022 is unbeatable!

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