In Chile and Argentina, the wine harvest has been delayed by 10 to 30 days, causing a lot of speculation and changes in harvesting protocols; both regarding how labor is managed and what effects there will be on the quality of the grapes. In other sectors in the south of Chile, harvests are normal.
In the case of Chile, fresher and more perfumed wines are expected in comparison to previous years, and this will help the situation align itself with current market trends, says AndesWines.com report
In Argentina, on the other hand, more hail storms are expected that could affect premium quality and normal quality grapes, without any certainty as to where they may strike. Also, in some areas, smaller clusters of grapes are beginning to be found.
In the area around Mendoza, harvests have been delayed by 20 days compared to a normal year for practically all of the varieties in the different regions of the province (the north, Uco Valley, etc.). A somewhat similar situation as Mendoza was observed in the province of San Juan.
On the contrary, in the north of Argentina – in areas such as Salta and Jujuy where the vineyards are found at altitudes above 1,500 masl – grapes have begun to ripen slightly earlier, by approximately 10-15 days, although this depends on the characteristics of the vineyard and the terrain itself (earth, age of the plants and grape loads, etc.)
Those producers whose vineyards were not given the right kind of phyto-sanitarian treatment this season (for cost reasons or machinery unable to enter the fields because of incessant rains or some other), now find themselves seriously affected health wise, with large-scale attacks of peronospora (downy mildew) that progresses depending on humidity excess in the air.
On the other hand, the owner and wine expert at Bodega Miras, Marcelo Miras, pointed out to AndesWines.com that, generally speaking, in the Argentine Patagonia, the wine harvest has been delayed by between one week to 10 days compared to the previous year, both in the region of San Patricio del Chañar as well as in the Upper Valley of Río Negro, and in towns such as Fray Luis Beltrán and Choele Choel in the Middle Valle of Río Negro.
The enologist, Pablo Morandé L. told AndesWines.com that: “In general we have observed phenological states somewhat retarded on average which, depending on varieties and climate, amount to between one week and ten days, but things are gradually getting back to normal.
Bearing in mind new trends worldwide, Pablo Morandé L. stressed that the approach nowadays is to prepare for wines with a lower alcohol content than in previous years, which means that almost all areas benefit from fresher years. However, where the Spring was very cold, flowering lasted longer with a poor fruit set that led to difficult and poorly balanced ripening, especially with difficult grape varieties such as Carménerè.
Meanwhile, the wine expert at William Fevre Chile, Cristián Aliaga C., told us that delays are lasting between one and ten days approximately and coloration had been set back in the Upper Maipo Valley in the majority of the varieties there. The quantities of grapes seem to be normal except with some higher altitude Chardonnay that have very small clusters. However, it is still early days to make accurate predictions. The remainder are looking good and some estates with more productive grapes such as Cabernet Franc and Malbec have already begun to be harvested.
Alejandro Chandía from the Winery Riveras del Chillán in the Itata Valley, reported that this 2015-2016 season began with a cold Spring and rainfall higher than previous years fraught with drought. The vineyards in the dry interior, such as those producing: País, Moscatel de Alejandría, Malbec, Cinsault, among others, appear to have acceptable loads on developing plants.
REGION OF THE ARAUCANIA – AN EMERGING WINE-PRODUCING AREA
The Region of the Araucanía is a fast emerging wine-growing area which, over the last 30 years has been able to drum up a lot of enthusiasm among local investors for planting vines in different sectors such as Capitán Pastene, Traiguén, Cholcón, Carahue, Collipulli, Galvarino, Los Sauces, Perquenco and Angol, among others.
The focus is on establishing vineyards for producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc the private sector is largely helping getting high-end wines to market.
Worth mentioning is the fact that the conditions in the Araucanía differ greatly from the classic wine-growing regions, so standards have to change and also developing more fertile ground would be of benefit for the area, because in general it is poor. However, the same procedures are used for fruit loads, whilst the pressure brought to bear by disease emerges at different phenological stages.
“In relation to the delay in the wine harvest experienced by the majority of the valleys in the center of the country, further south in the Araucanía this phenomenon has not appeared. All signs show that we are at the very same phenological stage as always”, Diego Campero, Wine Advisor at the Alto Las Gredas Vineyard, told AndesWines.com.
An exclusive report by AndesWines.com