South African viticulturists predict a smaller 2023 harvest

South African viticulturists and producers are predicting a smaller 2023 wine grape crop following a “healthy, yet dry season.”

This is the second consecutive year the grape crop is expected to be lower than the previous year, after 2022’s challenging harvest due to the uprooting of vineyards causing a decline in the overall vineyard area.

“At this very early stage the net decrease in the estimate is mainly attributed to all our growing regions that have experienced a drier season, except for the Northern Cape which has had its own difficult environmental conditions during and after the harvest,” said Conrad Schutte, manager of Vinpro’s team of viticulturists who issue the crop estimates with the industry body SAWIS.

“Poor flowering and set in various areas, together with the uprooting of vineyards, also contributed to the decrease in our estimate for the 2023 harvest.”

In the Northern Cape, where unseasonably wet and rainy conditions are said to have characterized the season, vines budded on a minimal reserve status and from the beginning, fewer bunches were formed. Foliage also grew poorly and even stopped temporarily in some instances.

In the rest of the regions, flowering conditions were reportedly good to outstanding. Few diseases and pests occurred, but the general average rainfall was lower in most regions compared to the previous year, which will impact berry sizes, especially in the dryland regions, thus influencing the total grape production.

“The season looks promising, but a lot could change leading up to the harvest,” Schutte added.

The next crop estimate by viticulturists and producer cellars will be released in the third week of January 2023.

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OIV Report: Average Volumes for Vintage 2022

World wine production in 2022 is again expected to be slightly below average, with differences between the individual winegrowing zones and countries. The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) forecasts global production of between 257.5 and 262.3m. hl of wine and must in 2022. There will be regional differences in harvest volumes, but the market surplus will remain.

The average value of 259.9 mill. hl is about 1% below the previous year’s quantity. However, the OIV points out that no information is yet available from China and Russia.

Europe is the heart of global viticulture. The EU alone accounts for 60% of world wine production and production volume is expected to be average, with Italy, France, Romania and Germany, among others, reporting higher harvest volumes than last year. In contrast, Spain, Greece and Portugal have harvested rather low volumes.

In the USA, a slightly lower harvest volume than in 2021 has been reported; 23.1 mill. hl are expected. This would be 4% below the previous year and 6% below the 5-year average, the second lowest volume in the last five years.

After the record year of 2021, the wine-growing countries in the southern hemisphere produced average quantities overall this time, with almost all countries producing less than in the previous year – except for New Zealand, where after a poor harvest in the previous year, this time the largest production quantity ever (3.8 mill. hl, 44% above the previous year) came onto the market. Overall, the southern hemisphere is responsible for about 21% of world wine production in 2022.

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Source:  OIV

Californian Vintners Report “High Quality” for the 2022 Harvest

The California Vintners Report came out this week and described this year as “a tale of two harvests”, with the heatwave in the week around Labor Day dividing the season into earlier and later picks. . Besides some of the “curve balls” one winemaker states the quality was “off the charts”

The summer growing season was ideal on the North Coast, the report said, until the late August heatwave accelerated the harvest and reduced yields in many places. Mendocino, however, saw yields up in 2019, because of the cool spring and milder-than-normal temperatures, even though the extended heat wave and limited water resources for irrigation proved challenging during the harvest.

Meanwhile, Lodi and the Sierra Foothills saw some late frost after a mild spring “dramatically” reduced the size of the crop.

There was good news from Napa Valley, which recorded excellent quality. More than 20 inches of rain fell in October and December 2021, bucking the years of drought seen across the region, which was followed by dry conditions from January until March. The Spring was mild and cool, but the Labor Day heatwave sent temperatures soaring into triple digits – up t0 110 -118 degrees in some places – for nearly a week, although cools nights helped to temper this and allows the vines to recharge.

This caused ripening to accelerate throughout the valley, and picking began earlier-than-average for many varieties, although growers had to use multiple techniques to help vines ride out the heat, where unripe grapes had been left to hang. There was some dehydration though, resulting in lower yields but greater concentration and flavor intensity, the report said.

Nate Weis, vice president of winegrowing at Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars in the Napa Valley said 2022 was likely to be “a pretty intense vintage — concentrated and powerful”, with particularly Pinot Noir from the Russian River, Anderson Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands, and good Merlot and Cabernet Franc. “The quality,” he said, “is off the charts.”

Duckhorn Vineyards’s vice president of winemaking Renée Ary noted the estate’s Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were “some of the best ever and the Chardonnays are bright, balanced and focused”, she said.

“Given the range of ripeness, blending will be important for the 2022 vintage as we balance our early and later picks.”

Meanwhile, in Sonoma County, limited rainfall, early season frost, warm spring and an early summer proved to have no ill effects, although some yields were lighter than average. However, the report noted that “fruit quality thus far is stunning and the overall smaller berry and cluster sizes point to a stellar 2022 vintage… [with] vintners… reporting wonderful concentration and flavor in the wines.”

Lisa Amaroli, director of winemaking at Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County said it was “one for the record books”.

It comes as California’s Wine Institute has begun a new push to increase Californian wine exports – part of its ten-year strategy to grow US wine export sales to more than $2.5 billion by 2030.

View the full 2022 California Harvest Report, including regional reports from Amador County, Calaveras County, El Dorado County, Lake County, Livermore Valley, Lodi, Mendocino County, Monterey County, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clara Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and Sonoma County: https://wineinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Wine_Institute_2022_Harvest_Report.pdf

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Churchill’s Offers “Vindima” Douro Harvest Experience

Churchill’s is offering tourists the opportunity to participate in picking grapes and immerse themselves knee-deep in the tradition of treading the fruit under foot this September. It was just announced that Quinta da Gricha, their flagship vineyard, will welcome visits for its annual ‘Vindima’ September 10, 11 and 25th. The day begins with a grape picking challenge with Churchill’s viticultural team, where they will harvest the berries that go into its wines.

The experience continues with a tasting of four wines, including two vintage Ports from the same vineyard that you just picked from.

You can’t make wine without crushing grapes, and Churchill’s is one of the few Port houses to still do it by foot. The attendees will have the chance to tread on the fruit in the traditional granite lagares, which date back to 1852. Clothing will be provided, for those concerned about irreparably staining their white tops and shorts.

The experience ends with guests will be treated to a three-course lunch in the orange grove, with Churchill’s Douro wines and vintage Port to pair.

The price is £185 per person, with additional options for transfers from/to Porto.

For further details and registration: https://bit.ly/3JFRrWI

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#winesofportugal #vinho

@churchills_port

Harvest Begins in Champagne

The opening dates of the 2019 harvest in Champagne have been announced, for all the villages and departments of the appellation.

The CIVC states: “The 2019 campaign has been marked by climatic shocks, with cool and humid periods alternating with hot and sometimes hot periods. Since the buds hatched, nature and some of the vine’s enemies have drained some of the initial harvest potential. Compared to other vintages, this year the grapes have more acidity and less color to the same degree (sugar richness). Aromatic maturity will therefore probably only be reached with high potential degrees, in the order of 10.5% flight. for Chardonnays and Black Pinots and 10% vol. for Meuniers”

The harvest, which began in Champagne this week, looks to be lower than in previous years. The vines of Champagne saw everything this year, from cold and rain to drought and heat, with the previous record for sunshine hours broken in February.

Spring frosts between early April and early May destroyed the vine buds across around 1,000 ha of vineyards, equivalent to three percent of the vineyard area. The heat and drought periods that began in June did not affect the vines.

The yield available for vinification this year was limited to 10,200 kg per hectare, which is slightly lower than in 2018 (10,800 kg per hectare).

The grapes from vintage 2019 show high acidity, but balanced color and sugar. In order to achieve the aromatic ripeness desired in Champagne, the grapes require a minimum alcohol content of 10.5% by volume for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 10.0% by volume for Meunier.

Champagne harvesting is done exclusively by hand to guarantee the integrity of the fruit for whole cluster pressing. The harvest is supported by 120,000 workers.

Source CIVC
https://www.champagne.fr/en/