Saturday 24 June 2017

24.6.17 Winegrowers Fear a Hot Summer; New Book on González Byass

It has already been the hottest spring in 52 years and the meteorologists are predicting a hotter summer than usual with daily temperatures likely to be around 40 degrees. This of course implies a small harvest. Even the sceptics are agreed that climate change is behind the situation and no one can deny that recent weather events have been extreme, like last year’s 40 days of incessant Levante wind, and when it rains, it is torrential. It seems we are losing spring altogether and going straight from mild winters to very hot summers.

Checking Macharnudo vines (foto:diariodejerez)

Growers are hit twice; by the change in the natural cycle of the vines reducing yields and by rising costs and the resultant drop in earnings. It is not only vineyards which are affected, but they are affected most severely as they are a summer crop and grapes are ripening quicker. Sunburned grapes have already been spotted in inland vineyards two months before the harvest and irrigation is not allowed. Growers can react to changes in the weather, but changing climate is another matter and government must do more. Naturally growers have insurance, but the insurer, Agroseguros, is a state monopoly and its policies not specific enough. For example they cover crops against hail, but not the Levante wind which does so much harm in in Cádiz, where nobody can remember when it last hailed.

Anew book on the history of González Byass is to be launched at the bodega on Tuesday. “González Byass: Historia de una bodega desde 1835” was written by Paula Fernández de Bobadilla and illustrated with watercolours by Ximena Maier. Begoña García González Gordon wrote the definitive book on the bodega some years ago, so this new book is more of a “greatest hits” as its author put it, having condensed much information into a more readable work.

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