At full speed, with a significant advance compared to last year, and also to a normal campaign, Familia Martínez Bujanda’s harvest is about to end in La Mancha, in Finca Antiguawhere we started with the muscatel last August 11 with the forecast to finish by mid-September.and has already concluded in Rueda, in Montepedroso Farmin two quiet nighttime days, Iast August 25 and 28.
In Rioja, at Finca Valpiedra, we also began on September 1, with a notable advance, and with little more than twenty days to put all the grapes in the winery, to which we will dedicate an exclusive post in the next post.
The early harvest, as in 2015, has marked the campaign at Finca Antigua, when in normal conditions we go into October to conclude the harvest, this year by mid-September all the grapes will already be in the winery. It has been a fast harvest, marked by drought, as in La Mancha and practically the whole country. However, the expectations for our technical team are for a good campaign in terms of quality.
We have drip irrigation in 95% of the vineyards, which, together with the usual harvesting practices with the unloading of clusters and the management of vegetation, allows us to the grapes are entering the winery with a complete balance between alcoholic (alcohol content) and phenolic (skin and pips containing phenolic compounds) ripeness. This imbalance between the two ripening processes is one of the usual problems of early campaigns such as the current one, in which the alcohol content, due to drought and heat, shoots up quickly, but in which the plant needs more time to polish and round the future tannins that will mark the quality of the future wine. In this sense, as we have explained on several occasions, the time of harvest is the most important decision that the technical team faces each year, although, if there is no previous good work in the field from pruning, it is difficult to guarantee the necessary ripening balance. Of course, in addition to the economic cost of the field work, a quality viticulture has a ‘cost’ on production and, for example, our average yield at Finca Antigua will barely exceed 4,000 kilos per hectare this season. (40% lower than last year), i.e., nothing to do with the appellation’s usual production in the plains.
In Rueda we grow 25 hectares of Verdejo grapes around Finca Montepedroso and, except for the frost damage that will reduce our production by 30%, the other major impact of the meteorological year, the drought, which has been tremendous in the Duero, will hardly affect us. In fact, we have the possibility of drip irrigation (which we only use when strictly necessary) and we have not used it this season, since we have not been able to use it. in July we measured rainfall of close to 50 liters per square meter, which refreshed and invigorated our vineyards, although the key, once again, has been in the control of production through viticultural practices.
In short, in spite of the difficulties of the harvest in general throughout Spain, at Familia Martínez Bujanda we are satisfied and confident in the quality of the 2017 vintage which, of course, will take its toll on us from a production point of view, but which is also providing us with quality grapes to make great wines.