The 2015 harvest could be one of the longest in recent years, but as ever, it depends on the weather. At the moment it is practically certain that there will be vineyards which will not be finished harvesting till the second week of September, meaning the harvest will have taken six weeks, as the first grapes were picked in the first week of August.
The weather has slowed down ripening especially in vineyards close to the coast, while inland the grapes are pretty ripe already at about 11.3ᴼ Beaumé which will provide a similar and sufficient level of alcohol. Ripening in the coastal vineyards has slowed thanks to the Poniente (west wind) which has cooled things down a bit. Consejo director, César Saldaña, says that the harvest is going smoothly and as usual started with the inland vineyards around Jerez and certain areas near Trebujena and El Puerto de Santa María, but for the moment the coastal grapes are not yet ripe enough. They need to have 10.5ᴼ Beaumé to be ripe enough so it is best to let them keep ripening and form enough sugar to keep fortification alcohol to a minimum.
César points out that it is difficult to generalise in a year like this because of such variations in the heat and the wind. Instability in the weather causes oscillations in the harvest, but that doesn’t mean the high temperatures and the Levante, won’t be back next week and speed things up again. So far, nine of the thirty-one presses are in action, and 11 million out of the expected 70 million kilos of grapes have been picked. Initial calculations from the vineyards already picked show a yield of slightly more than expected, perhaps 3-5%.
The VII Tintilla de Rota Festival will take place between the 24th and the 29th August. It is organised by Bodegas El Gato, a prominent producer – and one of the few. The Torre de la Merced hall will be the venue for tastings, a conference and a concert, while there will also be a traditional treading of the grapes in the Plaza Bartolomé Pérez and a theatrical visit to El Gato bodegas.
José Antonio Rodriguez Muñoz, the foremost expert on this rare wine and author of a book on the subject will be on hand and speak at the conference. If you are interested in cycling, the Vuelta de España will be in the Cádiz area at the same time. You could also take a look at the new bridge over the bay of Cádiz.