The 2014 harvest closed with production of some 6.5 million Kilos with a yield of about 10,000 kilos per hectare. While this does not represent a particularly large crop it is very similar to the bodegas’ estimates for this year. With the caveat that weather conditions could change in the run up to the harvest, the Consejo is content that these figures would suffice to rotate stocks in the bodegas.
“It is still early days and everything could change, but rainfall has been slightly lower than usual and budding was slightly later than usual but it caught up,” explains César Saldaña, director of the Consejo. “The research we have done indicates that yields from vineyards planted to vara y pulgar (the traditional pruning system) will be up by about 5% and those for double cordon (the pruning system for mechanical harvesting) will be practically the same as last year.” He points out that quite a lot of Levante wind (a hot dry wind from the East) is expected, so we should wait and see what happens in July and the first fortnight of August, as the Levante can reduce yields.
|Working in the vineyards (foto:Pascual/diariodejerez)|
César also said that “if the harvest comes in similar to that of last year – perfect - there will not be any problem with rotating stocks in the bodegas. Right now we have stocks for 3.8 years, and although we would have to analyse the situation at each bodega, I don’t believe there will be a rotation problem with the sector as a whole.”
He mentioned a potential problem with the availability of butts due to increased demand for them for other uses such as cask seasoning for Malt Whisky and Vinagre de Jerez, but is hopeful that this will not be too much of an issue.
As to the health of the grapes, César said that given that the critical period is yet to come, all is well so far. Attacks by Lobesia Botrana, the grape moth, one of the major pests in the area, have been relatively few. Green spider has been present as well but there is a treatment for that, and the Levante winds have so far kept the vineyards healthy.
The 2014 harvest was 20% lower than the huge 2013, but 2014 and that predicted for 2015 are pretty close to the normal yield. 2014 was also the earliest harvest on record.