Shaken, not stirred. Ferngrove Estate vintage 2018 Braud 9090XA performance.

Renowned Western Australian winery Ferngrove Estate, rated by the James Halliday Wine Companion as a five star winery for the past twelve years, is situated in the Frankland River Region.

Jeremy Oliver in his 2016 The Australian Wine Annual said, “Ferngrove is one of Australia’s most impressive wine producers. It has struck a formula that enables it to bottle high-quality wine and sell it for a price that must leave competitors wondering how. Its premier wines retail for less than $30, but easily hold their own against any range within Australia up to $50.”

Ferngrove Estate has more than 200 hectares of vines planted as a part of its significantly larger property. Some time ago it was identified that a new harvester was required to help keep up the quality of its wines and its reputation.

Thus, it was decided that during vintage 2017 trials would be conducted with several different harvesters to ascertain which would best suit the estate’s specific requirements. The main criteria for the trials were speed, manoeuvrability, the cleanness of the pick, serviceability and, of course, the running costs of the harvester.

As a result of these trials Ferngrove Estate, in preparation for vintage 2018, acquired one of the new-generation Braud 9090XA harvesters, the first one to be delivered in Western Australia.

As expected the new harvester operated flawlessly during the harvesting of vintage 2018 and as chief winemaker Craig Grafton says, “This harvester is a very good unit that meets all our requirements with the minimum of fuss, allowing for softer processing of the grapes in the winery.

“In a cool climate region such as here in the Frankland River, this can make a considerable difference/improvement in the quality of the resultant wine.”
Ferngrove vineyard manager Chris Zur says, “We have been very impressed and happy with the Braud harvester as it has performed flawlessly, with no issues whatsoever and it removes more of the unwanted MOG (material other than grapes) so that we end up with a much cleaner pick.”

Chris was referring to the onboard destemmer/processor which eliminates more impurities during the harvest. Both he and winemaker Craig quote the fact that, “In a cool climate region such as here in the Frankland River, this can make a considerable difference/improvement in the quality of the resultant wine.”

The Braud Company originated in France in 1870, producing threshing machines. Today Braud is the leader in self-propelled grape harvesters. With the harvesting season being shorter than ever, and still getting shorter, it is essential to have a super-reliable and versatile harvester that won’t let you down in the middle of a pick.

This is where the Braud 9090XA comes to the fore.

It has been designed to minimise the time involved in maintenance, with features such as the new sliding pads which last around two to three times longer than previously. This all translates into less maintenance down time, lower costs and higher productivity.

One of the more innovative features of this machine is the SD shaking system which comes with flexible rear rod fixation and quick front engagement so as to be able to softly shake and detach the grapes. This was one of the features that particularly attracted the crew from Ferngrove to this machine.

All of these features combined mean that you now have “a mean, clean and green harvesting machine” which is not only capable of gently harvesting premium grapes, but also can be used to harvest olives.

No wonder the crew at Ferngrove are “well pleased” with their harvester.

Maybe it should be called the ‘Braud Sword’ as it sweeps all before it.


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