Tuesday, 8 July 2014

7.7.14 First News on the 2014 Sherry Harvest

Early predictions for the harvest show a fall in yield of as much as 40%. The various parties involved: the growers, the bodegas and the Consejo Regulador are agreed that a major reduction in yield as compared with 2013 will be anywhere between 30% and 40%. 2012 was also a very small harvest due to drought, but produced very healthy, if small grapes. 

Less than two months before the harvest begins, the main worry is that a shortage of grapes will mean lower incomes for growers from musts or grapes sold to bodegas. However the situation should be put into the context of last year’s exceptional harvest which produced 82 million kilos of which 63.5 million qualified for Sherry production, equivalent to 89,000 butts.

(Imagen: Reporteros Jerez)
This year the projected production will be between 50-57 million kilos, not far from a normal yield which, along with the high production of last year will be sufficient to cover the renewal of stocks in the bodegas. Although sales of wine continue to slow, growing sales of vinegar will partly compensate. In fact, the growers calculate that in the production bodegas there remain 15,000 butts of last year’s wine, much of which may be declassified and sold as basic wine outside the region.

Predictions must be treated with caution, however. It is the weather during the month of August which decides the course of the vintage. So far the weather has been good, but there has been little rainfall, and if the Levante wind predominates, it’s hot, drying effect will reduce the crop quite dramatically.

Another problem is the outbreak of oidium, fairly widespread but more so in coastal areas such as Sanlucar and Trebujena. Oidium is a dangerous mildew-like fungus which at worst can split the grapes and ruin the crop unless spotted early and suitable action (sulphur spraying) is taken. Recent rainfall has not only provided the humidity necessary for the spread of oidium, but has washed away some of the sulphur used for vine protection. Let’s see what August brings.

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