The drought advances the harvest
10 % reduction is anticipated.
The scarcity of rains throughout the year, the stubborn drought of the last months and the extreme temperatures predict in O Baixo Miño a harvest earlier and with less kilos if the water does not arrive in the next days. The winegrowers face the most decisive fortnight for the campaign with one eye in the vineyard and another in the sky. The main wineries are already advancing a decrease in production of between 10 and 15%, despite the fact that there are more hectares in production and finish a harvest against the clock that have to advance on average about ten days, with the added handicap of the lack of harvesters.
We face the most decisive fortnight of an extraordinary campaign. Last year we started harvesting on September 13 and this will possibly be a week before», he says. Both he and the winemaker Ángel Suárez, from Lagar de Cervera, highlight the importance of the change of time that is expected from Sunday. «If it rains, the harvest could still be improved and get more kilos of grapes per hectare», warns Fernández. The hot month of July, with abundant northeastern wind and the absence of precipitation, has altered the vineyard cycle.
The decrease in production is not uniform and is due to the decrease in yield due to the lack of rainfall in winter. Terras Gauda estimates that it can be between 10 and 15% less while Lagar de Cervera puts it between 5 and 10%. In other cases, such as in Viñas e Terras do Pazo, which will also start harvesting earlier by accelerated ripening, have more hectares in production, so they expect to collect 20% more grapes than last year.
The 2021 marked a milestone in the designation of origin Rías Baixas becoming the most abundant in its history, with 43, 8 million kilos of grapes collected. 9.2% of the total comes from the farms and wineries attached to the sub-area of O Rosal, which contributed 4 million kilos, so the new campaign could stay around 3.8 as the denomination forecast is to get 41.3 million.
«There is a low percentage of yield because in the winter a little rainfall and, therefore, an uneven sprouting and little homologous since the vegetative part of the berry did not develop as desired», explains Pablo Fernández. The best part of the lack of rain is that there was no problem of diseases such as mildew or brotitis because the extreme heat hindered the proliferation of endemic depths.
Everything suggests that some farms, depending on their location, will start with the collection at the end of August and the large wineries, the first week of September. It will be the optimal ripening time, they point out, «because there is no precipitation and if much heat lowers the acidity and will increase the probable alcoholic strength, which is sugar».
The quality, according to the professionals, is assured, because «the proximity to the coast, the fogs and the forest mass soften the temperatures and favors the photosynthesis». The problem of the lack of collectors is common. «In Terras Gauda we need 160 people and we still do not have half», they confirm.