Drought Poses Threat to Spanish Wine Industry

The outlook for Spanish wine production is grim as adverse weather continues to impact the growing season.

Home » Drought Poses Threat to Spanish Wine Industry

The outlook for Spanish wine production is grim as adverse weather continues to impact the growing season.

This week, western Europe was battered by severe weather, including a violent hailstorm in Catalonia’s Penedès region. Meanwhile, in the Rhône, a region that had previously avoided harsh weather, reports indicate increased mildew pressure. A winegrower near Lyon mentioned to Le Journal de Saône et Loire that they had to spray six times this year, compared to the usual two.

Across the Atlantic, upstate New York recently experienced a damaging frost, with Observer Today reporting that 75 percent of Lake Erie’s “Concord Belt” grape crop may be lost.

In Venice, major Veneto wine producer Santa Margherita has partnered with the church of San Francesco della Vigna to produce a sparkling wine from the church’s small urban vineyard. The wine, named Harmonia Mundi, was made from Glera and Malvasia using the Charmat method, with only 1107 bottles released from the 2022 vintage.

 

Key Stories This Week:

 

Drought Threatens Spanish Wine Production

Spanish wine production is expected to decline by over 20 percent this year due to prolonged drought. Vinetur.com reports that the 2024 harvest volume is projected to drop by a quarter compared to the five-year average. The Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries cautioned that it is still too early for definitive predictions as official data and yield estimates are not yet available. The forecast followed a meeting between MAPA’s head of Agricultural Productions and Markets, Ana Rodríguez Castaño, and representatives of the Wine Sector Roundtable, where they also discussed exports. Wine exports were down 3.6 percent year-on-year to March 2024, and 2.6 percent below the five-year average. Crisis measures such as subsidized distillation and yield reduction were also on the agenda.

 

Chablis Hail Damage Reassessed

The Burgundy wine trade body (BIVB) has reviewed the hail damage in Chablis from the storm on May 1. Initial reports suggested extensive damage, but recent assessments indicate that while 1000 hectares out of 5800 were affected, around 400 hectares experienced over 80 percent damage. Despite the losses, there will still be a harvest and wines available from the 2024 vintage, though in reduced quantities.

 

Rioja Winery Explores Sparkling Wine Production

Bodegas Lecea in Rioja Alta has started an experimental project to produce high-altitude sparkling wines. They planted Garnacha Negra and Garnacha Blanca in Torrecilla en Cameros at an altitude of 900 metres. The project, co-sponsored by Joaquín Sanz García, aims to explore the potential for high-altitude sparkling wine production, which could diversify the agriculture of the cereal-heavy region.

 

Provence Vineyards Test Bee Resin Fungicide

Several vineyards in Provence and the southern Rhône are trialling a new fungicide made from bee resin (Propolis). Château Bellini, Château Margillière, Château Bel-Air, and Domaine de La Citadelle began using Propolis sprays this year. Known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties since ancient times, Propolis could offer a natural alternative to traditional fungicides, being particularly effective due to its sticky nature.

 

Mexico Aims for Wine Glass World Record

Mexico is set to unveil the world’s largest wine glass during the Semana del Vino 2024 in León. The glass, capable of holding 4500 to 5000 litres of wine, will enter the Guinness Book of World Records. This event concludes the first Concours Mondial de Bruxelles awards held on the American continent and showcases Guanajuato’s burgeoning wine industry. Previous records set by event organisers Tonic Life include the world’s largest jam jar, coffee cup, tea cup, and water jug. The final location for the giant wine glass remains undecided, with offers ranging from public spaces to vineyards.

 

Source: Winesearcher

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