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  Editorial Issue 144, October 2015   
Harvesting 2015: the Wine to BeHarvesting 2015: the Wine to Be  Contents 
Issue 143, September 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 145, November 2015

Harvesting 2015: the Wine to Be


 Here we are again. The fundamental moment of the year every vintner is waiting has come again, the most important event for wine making and that determines, for most of the part, the fate of a year of work. Harvesting represents in fact the fundamental test both of the benevolence or anger of Mother Nature, as well as of the work of the vintner. It should in fact be said, whoever cultivates a vineyard or makes wine, always have a watchful eye to the sky and to vines. The intent is to understand and, frequently prevent, what Nature gives in the course of the season, for better or worse. By considering the course of 2015, benevolence has been quite generous of sun and sultriness; rains and water scarcely given, with a subsequent water deprivation for vines. It should be said, as a matter of fact, in the past weeks, in some areas of Italy, has rained quite a lot, even hailstorms, endangering part of the harvesting.


 

 In general terms, and while avoiding the ridiculous and speculative definition of harvesting of the century - I prefer to simply call it harvesting 2015 - vineyards of Italy gave excellent grapes. It sounds like the right reward for what happened in 2014, a vintage many will remember for the frequent and abundant rains. The past vintage has been quite hard for vintners, forced to take proper actions to the best they could, while trying to “save what they could”. They are different and extreme conditions, none of them can be defined as balanced. It should also be said too much heat and sun, despite this helps the ripening of grapes, endangers the vine by depriving it from precious water. It is also true that, in general terms, the lack of water forces the vine to dig the soil and search for the vital liquid, therefore developing longer roots. Provided there is water underground and, for this, we need rains in the right quantity.

 Professional associations about wine and vine cultivation have already released their opinions about vintage 2015 and, in their anticipations, there are - or better to say, there should be, as many vintners are still harvesting their grapes - few regions in Italy to have a reason to complain about. Everyone agrees on quantities, by saying there could be an increase in production of about 13% in terms of wine. It should be said that, of course, this does not mean a quality wine production, a factor going beyond the simple numbers of what has been harvested in vineyards. However, the quality of grapes seems to be good in every region of Italy, therefore, on this regard, it seems we had a good start. Of course, from harvesting to glass many things may happen and, sometimes, the good hopes of the vineyard are not confirmed by the glass. It is also true the opposite: we all remember about vintage 2002 - unanimously defined in Italy as “terrible” - nevertheless, after many years, some wines of that vintage are today stellar.

 The expected figures say 40% of the grapes harvested in 2015 will be destined to Denominazione d'Origine Controllata and Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita wines, the rest equally divided in Indicazione Geografica Tipica and table wines. Coldiretti - the Italian association of farmers - says the expected production of wine for 2015 will be of forty-seven millions hectoliters, a quantity that - for those interested in the fundamental, passionate and eternal challenge Italy versus France - will allow Italy to overtake France for a little more than half a million of hectoliters. This will happen, of course, depending on Mother Nature's will, in particular without excessive rains and adverse weather conditions that could change these figures. However, this is something already happened in certain areas of Italy, as September rains have caused damages to vineyards and a subsequent loss of part of grapes.

 Despite of this, many believe vintage 2015 will be of high quality, even with remarkable excellent results. As far as I am concerned, it will be the glass - as usual - to tell whether these expectations turned into reality or not. However, by evaluating the expected figures of past weeks, as for quantity, it will be Veneto to win the highest ranking of the podium with its 9.1 millions of hectoliters of wine. On the other hand, Tuscany records a decrease of 5% in regard to 2014, caused by - unfortunately - the adverse weather conditions happened in the beginning of September. Lombardy and Sardinia confirm the production of 2014, whereas Apulia increases its production of wine for 25%. Increments in productions are also recorded in other regions: Campania +20%; Trentino Alto Adige +15%; Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Pidemont, Marches and Sicily +10%; Emilia Romagna +5%.

 Riccardo Cotarella, president of Italian wine makers association, said - realistically - in some areas of Italy will be produced wines of high quality whereas mediocre ones in others, by also saying it will be a good vintage for whites, too early to say something about reds. The exceptional heat of summer 2015, has strongly favored the ripening of grapes, virtually forcing to harvest grapes in advance all over Italy. Something that, in certain areas, has been quite significant. It should be said that, if it is true harvesting of white grapes is virtually completed all over Italy, the same cannot be said for red grapes. In fact, some varieties will be even harvested in November, therefore it is quite hard to say something as well as being incautious because of any possible weather condition. The only thing we can do with absolute certainty, is the best wish to all women and men who, even this year, will be involved in vineyards and in wine making. To all of them, with no exception, the best wishes because their hard work of the year will be rewarded with great wines or, to say the least, the very best possible. Our best wishes to you all: we are with you.

Antonello Biancalana






   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 144, October 2015   
Harvesting 2015: the Wine to BeHarvesting 2015: the Wine to Be  Contents 
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