Waiting for the harvest

10 August 2023

We like to think of the agricultural year as a Möbius strip, a continuous loop where men, vines and nature embark on a journey: there are ‘uphill’ periods fraught with difficulties and commitments, and ‘downhill’ periods where the vine and nature collaborate to help man in his work. However, if you look at it all from the outside, you can see that everything leads to a cycle, an endless ring studded with moments of varying importance.

One of these moments, surely the most important of all, is the grape harvest. This is the moment when all the work throughout the year in the field, all the ideas for the wine, all the value of the vineyard and its characteristics come together in a unique, single, very important gesture: picking the grapes at the right time to produce the wine that every producer or winemaker envisions.

Every year the cycle is marked by the same phases, but nature and unpredictable factors always require new considerations and adaptations. For instance, the 2023 vintage displayed a very different seasonal trend compared to 2022.

The start of the year saw very limited rainfall and above-average temperatures, which led to early vegetative growth of the vines. However, in April there was a decisive change of course, with a lowering of temperatures and an increase in rainfall, which continued into May and June.

The overall volume of rainfall was not exceptional, but it is important to note that May featured a high number of rainy days – 19 instead of the historical average of 9 days. This makes 2023 the year with the highest number of rainy days in May, matching 2013, compared to the average of the last 25 years.

These unusual weather conditions demanded significant dedication from vine growers, who had to carefully monitor the health of the vines as the risk of downy mildew was very high.

The great work done by our vine growers averted any damage, which was avoided or in the worst cases contained. There were also no extreme weather events, such as the sudden hailstorms that unfortunately affected neighbouring wine-growing areas, compromising production.

Not all bad things lead to harm however: the frequent rains have in fact allowed the vines to maintain a good vegetative balance and productive yield, with no situations of stress. In the areas of Franciacorta with the earliest mature grapes, there are only a few days to go before the start of the harvest. With the thunderstorms at the end of July, the temperatures, which had reached particularly high values in the last month, dropped, at the same time increasing the availability of water, with excellent diurnal shifts. This bodes well: we expect to harvest in August grapes with an excellent balance between acidity and sugars. Perfect for producing the wines we all love.

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