The biddies wrap up harvest season with a look at Europe, particularly Italy, Spain and Germany and their 2022 harvest reports. Climate change is still real, growers are harvesting earlier, and the quality seems pretty deece. Tune in for the full report.
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Study Notes for Europe Harvest Report 2022:
*Please note some of these lines might be directly taken from sources noted above.
- Just like France, the harvest season is starting early this year in Germany, Italy. And Spain
- Due to extreme heat and little rainfall this summer
- Up to a month before they usually would
- Older vineyards are more resilient to extended periods of droughts thanks to deep roots while younger vineyards “suffer significantly from the lack of water, especially on light soils that do not retain much water”
- Drop in downy mildew which allows for a better quality harvest
- Shows 5% growth overall with respect to 2021 in spite of drought
- “A disastrous scenario that many expected never materialized”
- Traditionally, the first grapes are harvested in Sicily, where the Settesoli winegrowers’ cooperative in Menfi started on 28 July 2022 with Pinot Grigio and Moscato.
- The ripening process of the grapes had initially slowed down due to a cool spring. Budding began ten days late compared to the previous year. An optimal fruit formation followed.
- The DOC Sicilia consortium expects a very good quality and a drop in production of 10 to 15%, because the drought in summer reduced the grape weight. With a good three months, the harvest in Sicily takes much longer than in the other regions of Italy, since on Mount Etna harvesting still takes place at the end of October/beginning of November.
- The harvest in Franciacorta, the first on the Italian mainland, began on 1 August 2022 – two weeks earlier than in 2021. It started with Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco for the production of base wines.
- Veneto reports a harvest start around 15 August 2022. The region estimates that the quantity will be slightly reduced – not only because of the drought, but also because of the spread of golden yellowing of the leaves.
- It was not an easy season in Piemonte. The winter was colder than in either 2020 or 2021 but it was also very dry with very little snow and the first serious rain fell at the end of May.
- “Later on we protected the berries from the scolding sun and reduced the yields quite a bit which will result in a not very productive vintage,” he says. “Harvest should take place in a week for the whites and the end of September for the Nebbiolo.”
- Drought here too
- Emilia Nardi, owner of Tenute Silvio Nardi in Montalcino has been doing everything possible to reduce the stress for the vines. ”Organic kaolinite (a type of white clay) was used on the leaves to reduce transpiration reflecting light away,” he explains. “We have smaller berries with a good quality so we are expecting less but good”.
- The only denomination announcing yield increases (+10%) so far is the DOC Ciro & Melissa in Calabria. It has to be taken into account that the two previous years were low in volume.
- Also seeing lower yields: The reasons for the low yields are likely to be, on the one hand, the intense heat wave that had the country in its grip for a long time, and on the other hand, the partly heavy rainfall that fell in the east of the country in mid-August which may also have led to reduced yields.
- Caserio de DuenNas – kicked off earliest harvest in history on August 16; earliest date on record (winery from 17th century)
- Health of grapes considered perfect
- CataluNa – commenced on July 27
- Spanish vineyards also hit by wildfires due to extreme heat
- Some wineries noticed uneven berry sizes
- Duero – mid September harvest
- “Over the past 10 years, we’ve experienced very varied conditions in our vineyards – from heavy snowfall and cool spring in 2021 to this year’s drought and heat”
- Makes it very difficult to adapt
- Higher and normal yields on island wine regions – Balearic and Canary
- Greater yields overall: According to the German Wine Institute (DWI), the reason for the increased yield is the rainfall in September, which gave the already ripe grapes more volume after the hot, dry summer.
- Expected to have less acid: Lower must content means that a majority of the wines, especially in the late-ripening varieties, are therefore likely to be moderate in alcohol content and lighter than expected. Lower acidity levels than in the previous year could lead to harmonious, appealing wines, that, according to the DWI, are “perfectly in line with the general consumption trend”.
- Lower must weights – plants were in ‘energy saving mode’ during dry period
- Red wines particularly benefitted – color intensive and fruit driven with ripe, soft tannins
- In line with what we saw from PNW – cooler climates are doing well with rising heat trends
- 2% above last 10 years, 6% above previous years results
- Rheinhessen and Mosel were actually down but due to locally extreme drought conditions
- Baden & Ahr (which was flood ravaged) achieved 50% and 39% respectively more than the previous year and 13% more than the average of the last 10