Santa Isabel Estate
San Cristobal Verapaz
Mandarin, green apple, and white blossom florals.
In the cup: A burst of vibrant citrus with notes of mandarin, green apple, and nectarine jumping to the forefront. A medium body and buttery mouthfeel carry honey sweetness which transitions to notes of oolong tea and fragrant white blossom florals.
Experience breeds understanding: The Valdes family share a deep connection with their land. A connection that is mutually beneficial and combines formal agriculture study with decades of intergenerational symbiotic understanding. Founded in 1875 the Santa Isabel Estate is a fifth-generation family farm made up of 300 hectares of beautiful and rugged mountains, thick rainforest, and buzzing flora. Nearly one-third of the Santa Isabel Estate (around 88 hectares) has been dedicated as a natural forest reserve encouraging biodiversity, protecting vital fauna, flora, and pollinators, and protecting and preserving precious natural water resources.
Unique harvest period: Here in Melbourne, we think we have some pretty wet and drizzly weather but the region of Alta Verapaz really puts us in our place, especially when it comes to drizzle! For 9-10 months of the year, the farm experiences a near-constant drizzle. This results in eight to nine staggered flowerings a year between April and June. But staggered flowering means staggered fruit maturation, so an extended harvest period with several passes must be completed to ensure the fruit is only picked when it is ripe. With a harvest period running from November to May, some 12 passes are needed with breaks of up to 14 days between each pass to ensure each cherry is picked at its sweetest and most ripe.
It takes a village: If you think that combining an extended harvest period, multiple picking passes, and highly selective picking sound like a lot of work, you are right! Santa Isabel Estate trains and employs 40 permanent workers and brings in an additional 500 temporary casual workers to help with the harvest during the most intensive picking periods. Santa Isabel’s high volume and multiple passes, provide opportunities for seasonal fruit pickers to gather good yields which gives Santa Isabel a stable and reliable workforce with many seasonal workers returning year after year.