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

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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/

Weather Hazards Threaten Northern Italy’s 2018 Harvest

Italy is in the grip weather hazards including hail, floods, tornados

Italy is in the grip weather hazards including hail, floods, tornados and strong winds, casting fears on the 2018 vintage in regions like Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romangna and Veneto.

Italy’s farmers’ association, Confederazione Nazionale Coltivatori Diretti (Coldiretti), has already warned that damages could cost the country’s agriculture industry €500 million.

According to Coldiretti, rainfall in June is 124% more compared with the historic average, and the country is experiencing its hottest summer since 1800.

This is the latest damage reported from a major wine country, following reports of fungal disease in Bordeaux threatening a 70% drop in crop, the ongoing wildfires in California and Germany’s earliest harvest on record due to unusual heatwave enveloping Europe.

“Climatic changes seem to have also impacted the Italian vineyards. It seems to be an abnormal Summer here in Italy, the most threatening weather conditions being floods due to excessive rain, hail and crazy wind called “tromba d’aria” in Italian,” Stevie Kim, managing director of Vinitaly International.

The adverse impact on the 2018 harvest in Northern Italy is early to assess but according to Kim, most producers remain cautiously optimistic and affected areas are mainly in parts of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Tuscany, Marche and Veneto.

“I know the affected areas include some parts of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Tuscany, Marche and Veneto. I’ve personally heard about damage to the corn fields, so far most producers that I’ve spoken to seem to be cautiously optimistic, however, in general most have concluded that their yield projection is lower. More importantly the Summer has not come to a close just as of yet,” she explained.

Last year, Italy’s grape yields dropped by 30% in some regions due to bizarre weather patterns, due to late spring frosts and drought.

Source Drinks Business

2017 Champagne Harvest

The Comité Champagne have announced the yield for the Champagne harvest is 10,800 kg per hectare including 500kg per hectare to be unblocked from the reserves.

The Minister of Agriculture recently announced that the French wine harvest would be ‘historically low’. Yields in some wine making areas such as Bordeaux and the Jura have been cut as much as 50%. What has caused this is the lack of rain in Spring and severe frost in April. In Champagne, the frost damage stands at 20%.

Weather has been good since mid-May and the vines are about ten days ahead in their growing cycle.

The harvest is expected to start in late August. This will make it one of the five earliest in the history of Champagne.

Champagne Announces 2016 Harvest Dates

 

The Champagne region has announced the start dates for the 2016 harvest.  Commencing today (September 12) through to September 26h there will be over 120,000 pickers, porters, loaders and press operators descend on the vineyards of Champagne for the harvest – the moment every winegrower has been waiting for.

Each harvest is different in terms of grape ripeness, potential alcohol levels and natural acidity – so picking the right moment to harvest is essential.

A ripening observation network for the accurate timing of harvests.

Twice a week, just as the grapes start to change colour (véraison), samples are taken from some 450 control plots spread throughout the Champagne area. The selected clusters are then checked for rate of colour change; average weight; estimated sugar and total acidity content; also for any incidence of grey rot.

The results are transmitted the same day via internet, so allowing the Comité Champagne to establish reference values for each parcel of vines, together with mean average values (potential alcohol levels and natural acidity) for each department and grape variety.

A data summary is then notified to the technical officers concerned, starting with the regional heads of the AVC (Association Viticole Champenoise). This enables them to attend the pre-harvest meeting with a very clear idea of when picking should start in their respective communes.

It is the pulp that contains the organoleptic compounds and elements required for effervescence (sugar, acidity, etc); and only pulp alone can deliver the desired clear, pale juice, bearing in mind that 3/4 of Champagne wines are made from black grapes. Pulp extraction is specifically designed to avoid colouring or staining the musts when pressing black-skinned grapes.

Hence the need for manual picking, selecting whole, undamaged clusters that must remain that way right up to the point of pressing itself. The clusters are transported to the press house in purpose-made bins with drainage holes that allow any juice to escape, so preventing the berries from macerating in their own juice.

Manual picking remains the tradition in Champagne – the requirement for whole, undamaged grapes is the same today as it was in the 18th Century.

Pickers have roughly a three-week window in which to work – beyond that point the grapes will be past their best. Just to complicate matters, all Champagne grapes reach their peak of ripeness at about the same time.

Some 120,000 pickers work in teams (‘hordons’ in French) of four per hectare, of which nearly 100,000 are given bed and board by the Winegrowers and Champagne Houses.

Harvesting employs:

  • Pickers
  • Porters (of grape bins)
  • Loaders (of bins)
  • Loaders of bins onto trailers
  • Loading bay handlers
  • Drivers
  • Forklift truck operators
  • Press operators
  • Fermenting room operators
  • And Cooks

Maximum yield per hectare

Yield regulation

  • The harvest base yield fixed by the INAO is 10,400 kg/ha, revisable upwards or downwards depending on the quality and quantity of the yield but capped at 15,500 kg/ha for AOC production.
  • The rationale for capping yields lies in the high-density planting system in Champagne, with vines planted very close together (8,000 per hectare) to improve ripening and therefore quality. Limited juice extraction – just 102 litres of must per 160 kg of grapes – is a key part of this policy and brings the final yield to 66 hectolitres per hectare.

The full list of dates can be viewed here www.champagne.fr