Thursday, 19 July 2018

19.7.18 Harvest Latest

This year’s harvest will be very different to last year’s which was the earliest on record with grapes being picked from 1st August. It looks like being more than a month later, more like it used to be, and right now the grapes are going through the “envero” or colour change which is a key point in ripening. But it has been noticed that some vinifera scions have been putting out roots into the air at grafting points, something which only happens in the tropics and is associated with excess humidity. Certainly winter and early spring brought record rainfall, but this is unheard of. Also virtually unheard of is the appearance of botrytis so early in the season, before the envero, but it too is the result of excess humidity.

Bunches just before envero when the grapes turn golden (foto:Vanesa Lobo/Diario de Jerez)

The grapes are ripening more slowly than usual due to relatively mild temperatures with overnight dewfall and there has so far been no sign of the hot dry Levante wind to dry things out and stop the fungi which cause botrytis, oidium which is widespread especially near the coast, and mildew, which is largely under control. It is turning out to be an expensive vintage in terms of both hours worked and treatments used. What at first looked like being a huge harvest is now looking more like last year’s 75 million kilos or slightly less. While the torrential rain guarantees a large crop, it does not guarantee a healthy one. It looks like the harvest will have to be manual wherever possible as selection will be required, which adds to costs but is something harvesting machines can’t do. So as things stand only a good Levante can help, along with some leaf pruning to better  expose the bunches to the sun.

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