Here we are again this year at this long awaited event which is so frenetic and much loved, the grape harvest!
I have been getting the winery equipment ready right from early August, washing the vats, the press and the crates so that I won’t be unprepared if the grape harvest should start suddenly, but this rarely happens because the moment usually arrives gradually and decisively.
At the end of August, we cross our fingers for a cool dryish grape harvest so we can work better and take grapes to the winery without them getting overheated if it is too hot. But the best conditions never happen as the weather never listens to us producers, fortunately, and every year we have to adapt to it for the harvest. Nature is like that, unpredictable but always right and motivating.
How did this year go?
In the spring there were two very cold nights. On 2 April the temperature dropped to -2.5°C and a few days later to -7.5°C. This did not do any good to the shoots of the early budding vines like Chardonnay and Glera because it froze them making them unproductive with a production loss estimated at around 30/40%.
This damage occurred only in the plain whereas in the hills where I grow Garganega and Durella, which ripen late, I did not have any problems because these grape varieties had not yet budded.
The very cold temperatures had another effect of no little importance as they slowed down the regrowth of the vines which resumed budding after 15 days. The summer which was not too hot and had the right amount of rain, in certain periods even too much, extended this delay right until the harvest. At the end of August the longer cooler nights arrived with high daytime temperatures which were a great help to the maturing of aromas and nutritive substances inside the grapes.
This year will surely be a vintage in which the Garganega harvest will begin at the end of September, as it did decades ago. Analysing the seasonal climate trend and present day ripening of grapes, 2021 will be a very interesting vintage for white wines and especially for wines produced from late ripening grapes because they will be able to ripen at lower temperatures and conserve the aromatic part very well.
It has been a long demanding season, but sniffing the first musts in the winery is a source of satisfaction and cheer and repays me for all the effort made during the year.