The grape harvest is about to start, or has started in the northern hemisphere and reports on the harvest should start to trickle out on media. I received this press release about the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Harvest 2020. Let’s find out what they expect.
In a year characterized by the COVID19 emergency and the various problems related to it, the territory is gearing up for a harvest that will restore a sense of optimism. Commenced in early September, the harvesting of the first fruits in the ripest areas will provide cellars with grapes that are not only healthy, but also perfect for sparkling wine production.
In the Conegliano Valdobbiadene appellation, the 2020 harvest is scheduled for early September. After a rather dry and fine year with a mild summer in which the plants were not subjected to hydric stress or excessive heat, field studies carried out by Consorzio-appointed technicians suggest that, despite the difficulties faced in 2020, nature has followed its course, and we can rest assured of high levels of quality.
“This year mother nature has provided us with hope, and despite the very difficult vintage worldwide we are, like every year, harvesting grapes that promise quality” said Innocente Nardi, President of the Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, “Over the last few months, work in the vineyards has been carried out as per usual, while also taking into account the restrictions and the new regulations issued for the management of the COVID19 emergency. In a year such as this, the winemakers have made an even bigger effort than usual in order to guarantee that the vineyards, and the resulting quality of the product, receive the required care. In the first eight months of 2020, sales of our product showed a reduction of 3,8% which, in the overall picture, one might consider a positive result, especially when compared to the catering sector’s 40% loss. The Consorzio’s choice to protect Conegliano Valdobbiadene in terms of value and positioning have so far brought the expected results – the value of the grapes and that of the wine have remained the same as last year despite the speculation of the spring months. ‘Heroic’ viticulture perseveres by promoting value, and not quantity. The battle is not won yet, but we are certain that we have the passion required to face up to it”.
From a climatic point of view, 2020 was characterised by a winter that recorded temperatures in line with those of the period, followed by a sunny and dry spring, and then by a mild summer with periodical rainfall. The vine’s phenological phases therefore progressed regularly. Thanks to a sunny spring with little rain and a mild summer with rainfall that was evenly distributed throughout the period, the vines today boast healthy bunches that have not been negatively affected by excessive sun exposure or periods of dehydration. The temperature range that characterized the summer weeks has resulted in good levels of acidity, essential for obtaining sparkling wines with the right notes in terms of freshness. The 2020 harvest will probably be defined by accentuated peculiarities in taste that differ between the two extremes – the northwest and southeast of the appellation – a phenomenon that typically occurs in less hot years.
Harvesting operations started in the southeast area, on the slopes that are most exposed to the sun, and will then gradually move towards the northwest over the month of September. It is hoped that temperatures remain mild so as to allow winegrowers to bring fresher grapes to the cellar.
The cellars and vineyards are well prepared as we head into the busiest period of the year. The cellars are ready to receive the grapes, while the final touches are being put in place in the vineyards in order to guarantee the glera the best conditions in which to ripen.
Given that the Conegliano Valdobbiadene territory is characterized by very steep slopes and hills and valleys that are difficult to access with machinery, 600-700 hours of manual labour is required per hectare every year, compared to an average of 150-200 hours per hectare in flat areas, that can be accessed by advanced machinery. It is for this reason that ‘heroic’ harvesting represents the veritable ingenuity of the territory’s winemakers.