Sunday, 14 July 2013

14.7.13 Latest on the 2013 Harvest

First estimates from growers and the Consejo on the 2013 Sherry harvest are for an increase of 12 million kilos or 25% over last year to about 75 million kilos.  As always these predictions come with a caution, however. July and August are the decisive months in the campaign, and it all depends what happens from now on.

After plenty of rainfall in the spring which has boosted the water table, the weather has been very hot recently with a Levante (hot dry east wind) which may reduce yields slightly. A particularly dry summer, like last year, is not predicted, and a sign of this is that wasp nests in the vineyards are orientated east, exposed to the Levante from which wasps normally protect themselves.

According to Francisco Guerrero, president of the independent growers, it has rained when needed and the canes for next year are good, and furthermore there are no signs so far of any disease. The worst enemies of the vine at this time of year are the Levante which reduces yields, and rain which can bring mildew or oidium because of the humidity. For the time being, however, everything looks good, but the harvest will probably be a bit later than last year’s very early one, perhaps at the start of September.

With an estimated crop of 75 million kilos, there would be enough wine to replace stocks in the bodegas, especially as sales are still falling. A drop last year of 1.92% led to sales of 41.6 million litres. The sales drop over the last five years averages around 18% meaning about 10 million litres fewer than sales in 2008.

The Consejo’s department of vineyards is supervising the state of the vineyards, paying special attention to vineyards which have been uprooted and will not be in production this year, and those which have been replanted. Growers should have informed the Consejo about this by the end of June, but not everybody has. The area of vines in production this year is very similar to that of last year, just under 6,500 hectares. The Consejo has been meeting managers of the over thirty vineyard press houses to keep them up to speed with developments, and in particular a new computer application which allows them to control the entry of grapes to the production bodegas.

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