The harvest is a key moment in Sauternes; it is totally dependent on the grapes’ ripeness and the growth of the fungus Botrytis Cinerea or “noble rot”, which concentrates the level of sugar in each berry.
But grape clusters never develop at the same pace.
You must be patient, walk up and down the rows and check each vine stock sometimes up to 4 times, in order to pick each grape when fully ripe.
That harvesting method is called “successive sorting”, a slow and laborious process which requires the greatest care of pickers; it is all the more demanding as grapes must be picked when totally dry.
But that is the price of quality!