The drought was a headache for the winegrowers, but it was compounded by unprecedented heat. The large temperature variations from day-night, which had always given the vines a reprieve in large parts of the country during the long dry phases of previous years, were almost completely absent.
This had consequences for all winegrowing regions, which were forced to start harvesting early. Parts of Andalusia such as Jerez or Montilla-Moriles lost a lot of volume. The impact on central Spain was more varied, with some provinces such as Toledo being less affected by the heat. Nevertheless, Castilla-La Mancha suffered. Uneven ripening led to lighter, less balanced wines being produced from Airén and Macabeo grapes.
By contrast, the regions of the Mediterranean coast did better than expected. Cava reported a 15% drop, which seems mild compared to the situation before the rainfall in the second half of August. Catalonia, however, can also cite areas with very good quality. The neighbouring Levant to the south is relatively unscathed.
The northern half of the country is in a much better position than the south. Rueda, in particular, has made positive headlines with an almost record-breaking quantity. Ribera del Duero, with 105 mill. kg, brought in somewhat less, but was satisfied with the quality. Only the acidity values left a lot to be desired. The same applies to Toro and Bierzo. The result in Rioja is difficult to assess. In Rioja Oriental, the harvest was fast and early, while the upper areas were able to work in a more differentiated way.
The Galicians and the Canarians can feel like the real winners of this extreme year. Rías Baixas was able to harvest top quality in some sites, especially in the areas facing the Atlantic, Val do Salnés and O Rosal, and the Canary Islands had similar results almost everywhere.
With a forecast of around 37 million hl of must and wine, Spain is barely double-digit below last year's result in percentage terms. Some estimates put the figure at 39 mill. hl. The grapes are extremely healthy. Nevertheless, price pressure will remain high. (DS)
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