Saturday, 4 August 2018
4.8.18 Harvest Update
The heat wave and Levante have arrived and temperatures in Jerez have reached 42C in the shade. The effect of this is to accelerate the ripening of the grapes, but the harvest will still be late due to the heavy rainfall and moderate temperatures in spring. This time last year the Palomino harvest was about to start, and other varieties like Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer had already been picked. At least the current weather conditions have stopped the cryptogamic problems which have been so costly in their tracks, but they also cause dehydration of the grapes, reducing yields.
Some are predicting a start date of the 20th of August for the inland vineyards but others say it will be later as the grapes are not ripening uniformly even in the same vineyard. Some growers are thinning out under-ripe bunches leaving only the riper ones and pruning back leaf cover so the sun and wind have better access. Currently the average sugar levels are only around 7.5° Beaumé, and the minimum legal requirement is 10.5°. Many are lowering their earlier predictions of a huge harvest 20% bigger than last year and falling into line with the prediction of the Consejo Regulador of a 10% increase. (82.5 million kilos compared to the 7.5 million of 2017). A lot can happen in a week to affect the character of the harvest, and temperatures are expected to drop on Wednesday but until then it will be very hot with changeable wind.