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An early grape harvest for 2012

March 26, 2012 by Laura Saieg | in Latest news, News

A grape yield reduction and higher temperatures were the factors that caused this phenomenon. According to data provided by the National Institute of Viticulture (INV), 949,562,030 kilos of grapes have been picked up to date.

After a very hot summer, with temperatures higher than average and a 22% reduction of grapes, winemakers and agronomists expect this grape harvest to come a week early. Nevertheless, this cold front at the end of March is fixing the harvest; and red varieties, such as high-quality Malbec, are expected to be picked up normally.

The INV presented the report on the progress of the 2012 harvest and the production of wine and musts in Argentina’s producing regions.  Up to March 18, the total amount of picked up grapes in the country is 949,562,030 kilos and the production of wine and must amounts to 272,440,690 and 120,994,714 liters, respectively.

Less grapes and more heat speed up ripening

Agronomist Enzo Mugnani, who mainly manages vineyards in Uco Valley and Luján, commented: “The grape harvest will come early due to the high temperatures of November and December. This made grapes have more sugar and lower levels of acidity. He also added: “this type of harvest in which acidity is naturally controlled, leads to less corrections in the winery”.

Besides, he highlighted: “Vines have suffered from coulure and clusters have less weight. All this caused faster ripening of grapes and, therefore, an early harvest.  However, he remarked that “this cold front has held back the rise of sugar level, thus, in some regions where top red varieties are planted, the picking may be carried out normally.”

Alejadro Vigil, Chief winemaker of Catena Zapata group, agrees on the fact that the harvest will take place seven days in advanced, especially on sandy soils. However, he stressed that “there is a marked disparity in Uco Valley, particularly in Gualtallary, between the Cabernet and the Malbec. The former is ahead of the latter that seems to come a bit late, since Malbec plants produce more and the berries are ripening more slowly. Cabernet, on the other hand, produces lower yields.”

Doña Paula’s agronomist, Edgardo Del Pópolo explained that 2011 presented colder months, compared to average, while in 2012, normal temperatures were surpassed. “This makes sugar develop early”. As his colleagues, Del Pópolo says that the lesser quantity of grapes brought forward the production cycle of the plant, leading to an early ripening.

Translation: Rocío Acosta

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