Terroir in Focus

Doña Paula Mid-Harvest Report 2020

Martin Kaiser

by Martin Kaiser

Agricultural producer of Doña Paula Argentina

In normal years, April is usually the busiest times during harvest time, were we vinify half of the red grapes. However, this year has been quite special; to the stress of the coronavirus, we have to add that we are dealing with one of the warmest summers in many years. If you look at the number of days in which the thermometer picked more than 32°C (graph number 1), temperature at which the plants are really stressed, this season has set a new record of 55 hot days. The previous record for Lujan de Cuyo region was in 2014 with 42 hot days. Because of all this, the ripening process has occurred 2 to 4 weeks in advance. In addition, March has been, to this date, warmer than February, which had never been registered in our meteorological stations.

I have asked many colleagues about the advancement of their harvest and the answer has been very similar: 80 to 100% of the grapes is already in. Only a small number of wineries have left 50% to pick. The official figures for Argentina before harvest expected a volume of 2,245 million kg at a national level, which is 9% less than the historical figures. Nevertheless, the opinion of viticulturists and winemakers is that the 2020 harvest has only a few days left, and that the fall in production will be much greater, around 20%. This makes a lot of sense if we consider that most of the bunches harvested in the second half of March present an advanced level of dehydration, and that for April there will be very few vineyards to harvest.

Doña Paula has four vineyards in the Uco Valley and one in Ugarteche, Luján de Cuyo. Our production of white grapes was similar to the historical average and to our estimations, however, in the reds we will have a fall in yields of around 10%.

It is noteworthy that the climate has been very dry (136 mm of summer rain vs historical 182 mm), and consequently the sanitary status of the grapes is perfect. Grapes and the already obtained wines are full of flavors, and present good color and concentration in the mouth.

To sum up I think this year will be hard to forget, not only because of the coronavirus and because of all the changes we are experiencing in our lives, but also due to the hot dry summer that will shorten our picking time by four weeks. It will probably also be remembered by the quality of the wines.

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