Posts Tagged ‘Harvest’

 

 

Winemakers in New Zealand are hailing the 2013 vintage as ‘one of the best in history’, with a record harvest 28% bigger than last year’s crop.

 

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan described the summer as ‘outstanding’ with ‘near-perfect conditions for growing grapes’.

‘The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit-driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape-growing regions – 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.’

Nearly 350,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2013, a record volume up 5% on 2011 and 28% bigger than last year’s small crop, which left New Zealand short of wine to feed its expansion plans.

Key region Marlborough and key grape variety Sauvignon Blanc both had good years, with volumes up 33% and 26% respectively, while the Pinot Noir crop was 36% bigger than in 2012.
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Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza, Argentina

Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza, Argentina

A first look at vintage quality in South America, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Ready to taste the first wines of 2013? While vines are just flowering in Europe and North America, the Southern Hemisphere has picked, crushed and fermented this year’s crop. Argentina and Chile experienced a cool growing season, which left vintners waiting for grapes to fully ripen. That wasn’t a problem for big reds like Argentina’s Malbecs and Chile’s Cabernet Sauvignon, but it could be trouble for Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

Here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming vintage. Check out Wednesday’s report on Australia and New Zealand and come back Friday for details on South Africa.

Argentina
The good news: A long, cool growing season produced what many winemakers are calling fresh wines

The bad news: Up and down temperatures tested winemakers’ patience and required long hang times for grapes to reach full maturation

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Harvest at Spier, Stellenbosch.

Harvest at Spier, Stellenbosch.

A first look at vintage quality, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Ready to taste the first wines of 2013? While vines are just flowering in Europe and North America, the Southern Hemisphere has picked, crushed and fermented this year’s crop. South African grapegrowers enjoyed a wet winter, meaning healthy yields, followed by a dry, warm summer. But rain during harvest made picking anxious at times.

Here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming vintage. Check out Wednesday’s report on Australia and New Zealand and Thursday’s on Argentina and Chile.

South Africa
The good news: South Africa’s 2013 harvest has drawn praise from most producers, with a strong start and finish to the growing season

The bad news: A bit of rain and humidity mid-harvest forced some producers to scramble for proper canopy management and gamble, successfully, on better weather late

Read on …

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Grape harvest in the new world.

Grape harvest in the new world.

A first look at vintage quality down under, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Ready to taste the first wines of 2013? While vines are just flowering in Europe and North America, the Southern Hemisphere has picked, crushed and fermented this year’s crop. Australian vintners report that the 2012-2013 crop was small, thanks to dry conditions in the east and storms in the west. New Zealand’s North Island faced heavy frosts to start the season, while on the South Island, a compressed harvest made for a logistical nightmare.

Here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming vintage. Check back Thursday and Friday for South Africa, Argentina and Chile.
Australia
Region: South Australia: Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Eden Valley, Limestone Coast

The good news: Low yields and dry conditions produced concentrated wines

The bad news: A series of heat waves reduced the size of the crop

Picking started: Mid-February

Promising grapes: Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling

Analysis: Vintners in South Australia will remember 2013 as one of the earliest and shortest vintages in recent memory. Winemakers are excited with what they picked, reporting good to outstanding quality in both their white and red grapes. “There will be some truly awesome wines from 2013, just not as much of them to share,” said Paul Linder, winemaker at Langmeil in Barossa.

A combination of hot weather and below average rainfall in the spring reduced grape yields across the state. John Duval, of his eponymous winery in Barossa Valley, said vintners had to be diligent with their irrigation to protect grapes from withering on the vines. He said yields were down between 30 to 50 percent in Barossa Valley. Cooler growing regions such as Adelaide Hills and Coonawarra in the Limestone Coast avoided the worst of the heat.

A heat wave jumpstarted harvest in mid-February, with growers scrambling to pick grapes as sugar levels spiked. The upside to the dry conditions was low disease pressure in the vineyards and a small crop that produced concentrated grapes. “Reds are showing excellent color and flavor, with balanced tannin structure,” said Duval. Winemakers in Eden Valley and Clare Valley reported good natural acidity in their Rieslings, despite the heat.

 

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South Africa is looking at its biggest ever harvest this year despite a late and slow start to the growing season.

According to the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS), the 2013 grape crop is expected to hit 1,491,432 tons, exceeding the 2012 crop by 5.4% and larger than the last biggest harvest, 2008, by over 4%.

The overall harvest therefore –including juice, concentrate and wines for brandy and distilling – will reach over 1m litres, with an average 773 litres per ton of grapes.

In terms of quality, producers “are excited about a promising crop”, with good colour, structure and flavour particularly in the reds.
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South African wine exports to reach now high in 2013.

South African wine exports to reach now high in 2013.

 

South African wine exports are poised to beat their 2012 record this year following high yields and on demand for premium vintages from North America and Asia, industry executives and growers said.

Wine exports rose to 469 million liters (124 million U.S. gallons) in the year ending April 30, up 25 percent from the previous 12 months and more than triple the total shipped in 2000, data from the Wines of South Africa trade body, or WOSA, show. Bulk shipments rose 53 percent while those of bottled and packaged wines fell 5 percent, as large producers bottled more in export markets.

Although wine has been grown in South Africa since Dutch settlers arrived in the 17th century, the country was cut off from trade during the apartheid era of racial discrimination, which ended in 1994 with the first all-race elections. Two decades on, exporters are seeking to consolidate in established markets such as the U.K. and Germany while boosting sales in Asia and Africa.

“If you think about South Africa’s history, we’ve been making wine for 350 years but it’s only really since 1994 that we’ve actively pursued the export market, that we’ve been welcome and accepted,” Johan Erasmus, general manager of the Glen Carlou winery in the Paarl Valley north east of Cape Town, said at a London tasting in March. “We are much more in touch with consumers worldwide.”

A wet winter meant plenty of underground water, helping to boost yields in 2013, according to Su Birch, Chief Executive Officer at WOSA. Yields at the 2012 harvest rose to 14.13 metric tons per hectare (2.471 acres), the highest for at least six years, and probably climbed to about 14.90 tons this year, according to estimates based on preliminary data from WOSA.

 

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Undersupply replaced a decade-long era of oversupply with autumn 2012’s harvest and the inevitable prices hikes will hurt the entry-level market. Meanwhile global demand continues to rise.

TWEETS OF the “OMG! We’re going to run out of wine!” variety greeted reports in the autumn of 2012 that grape harvests in the Northern Hemisphere had widely fulfilled predictions of shortfalls across a sweep of major wine-producing regions. This compounded earlier Southern Hemisphere shortfalls at a time when global consumption is growing. Without question, the headline figures made for sobering reading, especially after a decade or more of oversupply being the norm.

As 2012 European harvest volumes were confirmed, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) estimated that total global output had fallen from 264.2 million hectolitres in 2011 to 248.4m hl in 2012, representing the lowest level since 1975, when the body began tracking these figures.

 

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Russian girl stomping grapes during Russian wine harvest.

 

Cheap sweet whites dominate the home market but a handful of ambitious Russian wine producers are raising the standards.
For most westerners, the whole concept of “Russian wine” sounds a bit like an oxymoron. And if you ever sip wine at a Russian party, the chances are you won’t like it much. Or at least you will find it perplexing.

That’s because four-fifths of wines sold in Russia are poor quality semi-sweet varieties, and involve the use of concentrate.

The reasons for this date back to Soviet times, when Russians’ taste for semi-sweet and sparkling wines was formed. Many Russians today consider dry wines too sour. It was Joseph Stalin, an ethnic Georgian, who did most to foster this tradition.

It may be hard to believe but, according to the International Wine Office, the Soviet Union ranked fifth in the world in terms of area under vines and seventh in terms of wine output by the end of the Fifties.
The young Soviet winemaking industry found enthusiastic support from Stalin and from Anastas Mikoyan, his Armenian minister for food production. Both Georgia and Armenia, in the fertile, Mediterranean-like climate of the South Caucasus, have a rich tradition of winemaking that predates even the ancient wine culture of Greece.

Wine was drunk in Russia only by the aristocracy before the 1917 Revolution. But all this changed under Stalin, who believed wine had to be affordable for every Soviet citizen.
Scientists managed to produce frost-resistant, high-yielding varieties of grape. But the quality suffered: wines made from such grapes were barely palatable because of their high acidity and lack of taste. To remedy this flaw, grape sugar and often ethyl alcohol were added to the wines – practices that are still widely used in the Russian wine industry to this day.

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Durbanville Hills cellar 01

 

 

From its first vintage 15 years ago, Durbanville Hills Wines, which is located on the Tygerberg Hills and overlooks Table Mountain and Table Bay, has produced some of the best received super premium wines in the country.

Cellar master Martin Moore, who was appointed in 1998 when the cellar was still in the early stages of construction, reminisces fondly of the first vintage and the memorable wines produced in 1999.

“When the first grapes were delivered to the presses, work had not even started on that part of the building which today houses the maturation cellar, restaurant and wine-tasting area.

“But regardless of the challenges both the Luipaardsberg Merlot and the Biesjes Craal Sauvignon blanc from our first vintage received double gold at Veritas while the Durbanville Hills Chardonnay was awarded gold. During that first vintage just over 3 000 tons of grapes were pressed. Within a few short years production moved up to reach the cellar’s full capacity of 8 000 tons,” says Moore.

“Over the years we have extended our product range to showcase the diverse terroir of the area. During the 15 years we have created a number of what I believe are quite remarkable wines; wines which in my view truly capture the unique flavour spectrum found on our valley slopes.”

Durbanville Hills has over the years become particularly known for its top-quality Sauvignon blanc, due also to the cool-climate location of its production units which all enjoy ideal conditions for growing this cultivar.

“During the summer months and then mostly in the late afternoon, the southeaster , blows off False Bay over the Cape Flats, bringing with it cool, moist air. The wind is surprisingly cold as it comes sweeping over the contours of the hills, cooling down the vineyards even on the hottest day. And when the southeaster is not blowing, a westerly wind coming off the cold Atlantic produces the same results,” says Moore.

Sauvignon blanc is represented across the cellar’s three wine ranges. All of them regularly receive awards at national and international competitions. Although the wines can be enjoyed immediately, the winery’s Sauvignon blancs are known for their longevity, with the Biesjes Craal in particular lasting for up to ten years.

The wines are available from the cellar and leading liquor outlets and retail for about R52 in the case of the 2012 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc and R85 for the 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc while you should expect to pay about R115 for the 2012 Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc.

 

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Technicians assure that 50% remains unpicked. Up to now, quality and health are the premises of this crop.

As it was expected at the end of last year, the 2013 yield seemed to be higher than that of 2012. At that moment, it was too early for a forecast due to the unpredictable climate conditions. However, reaching mid-April, and in spite of rains lashing down most of the summer, technicians of Argentine wineries have anticipated that they expect around 20% more of grape. But, in some regions, this reality varies, and winemakers maintain that harvest will be the same as in 2012.

This is the case of Patricio del Chañar, Río Negro. Marcelo Miras, winemaker at Bodega Del Fin del Mundo, commented that they expect the same amount as in 2012. As regards the harvest, he pointed out: “it corresponds to a Patagonian harvest, with warm days and cool nights, enabling us to reach an excellent ripening”.

In San Patricio del Chañar, about 30% of grapes are still unpicked, and in the Upper Valley of Río Negro, 50% approximately.

In addition, Adrián Meyer, winemaker at Chandon and Terrazas de Los Andes, explained that in general, the trend shows a 15-20% increase of the crop per hectare, compared to 2012. Regarding the grape already harvested, he stressed that all white grapes and only a 15% of reds have already been picked.

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