Experiments have shown that it is possible in the Marco de Jerez to make Fino without the need to add alcohol. The key is to raise the sugar level in the must to a reading of 15-15.5ᴼ Beaumé, but this flies in the face of established custom whereby quantity is rewarded rather than quality, so it would be difficult to put into practice. To do so would require a change of mentality in the bodegas. Some are interested but until it is more general the growers will just keep on producing quantity which, according to the growers’ president, Francisco Guerrero, is to the detriment of quality.
Many growers but few bodegas attended a conference held on Wednesday, organised by Asevi-Asaja, the growers’ association, about improving the balance of the vineyards and techniques around which revolve a significant part of vineyard work being developed by professor José Ramón Lisarrague at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, who hosted the event. Various strategies were presented to the growers and to Consejo president, Beltrán Domecq who was present, for increasing sugar levels in the grapes.
|Jose Ramon Lisarrague (foto:ocw.upm.es)|
According to Lisarrague the character and quality of a wine depend on its different components and the balance between them. These components and their precursors present in the grape before winemaking are influenced by a series of factors which are difficult to change such as the climate and the soil, and by other alterable factors such as the hand of man. Varying the viticulture will produce different results in the same vineyard: leaf cover, ground cover, pruning, irrigation can all help to change the balance from quantity to quality in the grapes.