Once again it is that time of the year when everything gets decided. Yes, I am talking about harvest and how it affects our lives. Last year I wrote three times about our life during harvest. It seemed like there was so much to tell and share.
This year there is so much to think about and a lot less to talk about. If you have been following me on different social channels, you know that we are not impressed with this year’s harvest. Nevertheless, let me illustrate some figures to better understand why this year’s harvest is so difficult.
Since the beginning of the year in the province of Treviso, Italy, an average of 1,162 mm of rain has fallen (+645 mm on average for the period), corresponding to about eight months of rain more than the annual average. In the first seven months of 2014, we had 96 rainy days, a fact that under normal conditions would correspond to the volume of water that affect the average Treviso weather throughout the year.
The amount of rain is not the only factor affecting the harvest. During winter, the average temperatures were higher than average, during summer lower than average creating a thermal imbalance. The low and high temperatures outside their normal periods have been accompanied by an average 72% humidity. This means that even on those rare days without rain, humidity kept the grapes, the soil, and everything wet.
In Veneto, the most affected provinces are Treviso, Vicenza, and Verona. For more detailed reviews for Amarone lovers, please visit Terroir Amarone (http://www.terroiramarone.net/blog/), they have also been following closely the situation for this year’s harvest.
For people who live off their lands, of what they produce, this year is one that will make a big difference. Quantities are low, sugar levels are low, some grapes can’t even be harvested. Most wineries started harvest mid-August because the grapes could not handle more rain and were simply rotting. That is also our case, we had to rush to pick Pinot Grigio due to grey rot. Thankfully we hand-pick so we could apply a severe selection on the field and only harvest the healthy grapes.
As with everything, we try to see the positive side of things. This drastic situation forced us to think differently about our Sfriso harvest, about its costs, and its relevance for business. We have concluded that this is the year of quick decisions and sold our fermenting juices as soon as possible. This decision saved us money and time, narrowing our losses. Yes, it is all about trying to contain losses, of grapes, of money, and time as much as possible. I will not get into detail about the economics of harvest 2014, but as you can imagine the situation is not very happy. Production costs are high, market values are going down, quantities are scarce, and quality is poor.
We believe that this year will teach great things to wineries that do not have plan Bs and Cs. Hopefully, it will stir some thinking and willingness to change things so that the sector as whole can benefit on a long run.
In the meantime, I have been filming around our short harvest; with good spirit, we can always see the light!