With the 2016 vintage barely a month away, the Consejo Regulador, in its first harvest prediction, estimates a crop reduction of 10-15% because of the recent mildew attack. This will leave about 68 million kilos of grapes. Vineyards nearer the coast around Sanlúcar and Trebujena were the worst affected by the mildew since they have higher humidity than those situated inland. The Consejo puts the area of land affected by mildew at 7-10%, noting that the Levante (west wind, which has been blowing recently, has reduced the chance of an attack of oidium, another fungal disease which affects the quality of the grape rather than the quantity.
The 2015 harvest totalled 76.4 million kilos of grapes, of which 68 million qualified for Sherry production, whereas this year the Consejo expects about 68 million of which 65 million will qualify. It should be remembered that the 2015 harvest was 14% bigger than 2014, thanks to good weather conditions leading up to the harvest, and the Consejo is cautious, reminding everyone of the saying that “August has the key to the harvest” and much depends on whether the Poniente or the Levante winds predominate. The Levante is hot and dry and reduces the crop, and temperatures are already high in Cádiz. It is still early to say, but many think this year’s harvest will be a little later than last year when it began mid-August.
Fedejerez, the association of Sherry bodegas has re-joined the Federación Española del Vino (FEV), of which it was a founder member in 1978. The FEV is an organisation which represents the entire Spanish wine sector. Fedejerez had let its membership lapse in recent years, but some bodegas remained on their individual account. Pau Roca, general secretary of the FEV said he was delighted to have a founder member back in the fold, especially at a time when unity in the sector is so important.