We are fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around to many of the European wine regions at harvest time, thanks to our many wine tours. It gives us a unique opportunity to get a feeling for how the harvest is and plenty of opportunities to discuss with the wine growers. Here is a short summary.
France: After a cold and rainy spring and early summer the heat and the sun finally come to France in July and August. And in many places the warm weather stayed on in September. But not everywhere, and the results have been mixed.
Overall, the harvest has been late in Europe. When we were in Champagne around September 20 the producers were very happy with the grapes. Both the quality and quantity were good. All that was needed was higher sugar levels and good weather for another 10 days. And they were quite lucky. Bordeaux has had a difficult season with late maturity, low yields and problems with grey rot. During harvest it was important to work hard at the sorting table and not be afraid to discard bad grapes.
Germany: The Mosel Valley in Germany has received its fair share of varied summer weather but a very fine autumn finally gave high sugar levels in the Riesling grapes.
Portugal: Portugal had some early rains this year which is not common. In the Douro Valley is usually does not the rain until November but this year many producers had to interrupt the picking because of the rain. The harvest was not completed until around October 25 but the result is quite good.
Italy: It has been a strange year in Italy. A long and cold spring with rain, up until mid-June. Then a short and very hot summer. Autumn has been cool with a lot of showers. Many producers have rushed in the grapes to avoid the rain. Nevertheless most winemakers seem content with the grape quality in the tanks.
Spain (mainly Rioja): A cold and difficult spring led to a late and uneven flowering (as in many places in Europe). Summer was good but autumn arrived with changing weather and some rain. A very late harvest, three sometimes four weeks that was sometimes affected by rot. A difficult year with perhaps varied result.
But as always, it is difficult to predict what the wine will be like until you have it finished fermenting.
Harvest-time is an exciting time to travel around in the vineyards. Everyone is busy. You can experience it yourself on a wine and food tour to a wine region with BKWine next autumn.
Travel to the wine country with the wine experts and the specialist on wine tours.
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