September is the harvest month in Europe. Most producers are a bit reluctant to make statements about the quality of the harvest at this early stage. Nevertheless many are happy with the result so far. At least when it comes to the quality. The quantity is in some places a bit of a problem. Richard Maby at Domaine Maby in Lirac/Tavel says the quantity will be down by 30% due to the hot summer. Also across the river, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the volume will be lower than usual. ”We have had a very hot summer and the grapes have shrivelled on the vine, which is good for the concentration but bad for the quantity”, says Hélène Chouvet, owner and wine maker at Domaine Fontavin.
Many growers in this region have also had problems with coulure, causing some grape bunches to have less than normal developed grapes. But quality is promising, says Didier Négron, wine maker at Domaine Roger Sabon in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. ”The harvest is about a week later than 2009, when we started unusually early. 2010 could be as good as 2009. We have small, very concentrated grapes.”
In the Douro Valley in northern Portugal they are half way through the harvest. Paul Reynolds at Quinta de Macedo says the year is very promising. “The grapes are ripe and with a good acidity. The summer was hot but with no extreme temperatures.” Luís Seabra, wine maker at Quinta de Nápoles, and Manuel Lobo, wine maker at Quinta do Crasto, both think the year offers some challenges due to uneven ripeness sin the vineyard. ”Some of our vineyards had problems with water stress at the time of veraison due to the very dry and warm summer”, says Joana Pinhão at Quinta de Vale Dona Maria. ”We discard around 10-15 % of the grapes. Hopefully we will have finished harvesting by the end of September as it is supposed to start to rain on the 30th!”
We keep our fingers crossed for Joana and everyone else so that they can finish the harvest and nice and sunny weather. More harvest information in the October Brief.