Above: winemaker Gianluca Cabrini of Tenuta Belvedere in Oltrepò Pavese shared this photo on his Facebook last week as he prepared to pick his Pinot Noir for the production of classic method sparkling wine. This harvest is “the most difficult, the most impossible,” he wrote.
“#sky #light #night #hope” wrote Chianti Classico winemaker and grape grower Francesco Ricasoli yesterday in a haiku-esque expression of relief after rains brought much needed water and lower temperatures to vineyards across central and northern Italy this week.
Check out this amazing shot he captured, just one of “thousands” of lightning bolts, he wrote.
As severe weather — “Europe’s Scorching Summer” — continues to affect Europeans across the continent and peninsula, drought and extreme heat have tempered growers’ optimism for the 2022 harvest in Italy.
In early August, Riccardo Cotarella, president of the Italian enological association Assoenologi, warned that the situation could be catastrophic if rain did not arrive this month.
“Climate change,” he wrote in a widely circulated statement, “is putting the entire farming industry to the test. As far as viticulture is concerned, we are witnessing a truly anomalous and extraordinary season. It resembles 2003 [one of the hottest on record at the time]. But the current drought is even more challenging and deeper. And it’s coming together with a dangerous element: the high temperatures. When combined with the drought, they create an environment that is highly unsuitable in terms of the vines bearing fruit as best as they can.”
Official estimates for the Italian grape have yet to be published, noted Maurizio Gily in his popular industry newsletter MilleVigne today. But this week’s rainfall and lower temperatures have raised hopes for a solid vintage.
“The rains,” he writes, “which came mostly in the form of storms, did not reach the deepest layers of the soil. But the vines benefitted nonetheless and ripening was suddenly accelerated in the end after a veraison that came early for most. The health of the grapes is excellent at this moment. Harvest of early-ripening grapes has begun in the south while they have started picking Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling wines in the north.”
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