Harvest in Rioja: early and excellent

Unlike last year, this September is offering the necessary ‘truce’ to the winegrowers to choose the optimal harvest time and allows an orderly and selective entry of the clusters into the wineries.
The advance of the ripening cycle that we had been dragging along since veraison (beginning of the ‘.countdownThe ‘ripening process’ has been finally confirmed in the harvest and, while it is usually during the Pilar long weekend (October 12) when the grape harvest reaches its peak throughout the territory of the appellation of origin, on this occasion it has been just a few days after San Mateo (September 21). when harvesting has become generalized in all areas.
At Finca Valpiedra we began the harvest on September 10. The characteristics of our farm, determined by a stony ground (the edges partially retain the heat of the sun and help in ripening) and by the microclimate of the Ebro meander where our vineyards are locatedThe grapes are usually harvested earlier than in other areas of La Rioja Alta.
In fact, last year, which was very complicated due to botrytis with a month of September that was ideal for the development of the fungus because of the heat and water, at Finca Valpiedra we were able to harvest before the rains and obtain a very good quality vintage, contrary to what happened in most of the appellation of origin.
This is an excellent vintage for us. The control of yields, with an average of 5,500 kilos per hectare in Finca Valpiedra, which for Familia Martínez Bujanda also allows us to speak of an important harvest in terms of quantity, is becoming in recent years the best guarantee for the quality of the wines.
Meteorological anomalies as a consequence of global warming, and here we have last July, which was the hottest month in the history of the country as a whole. The vines, which are not balanced in terms of load and vegetation, are causing a rapid maturation of sugars so that, if the vines are not balanced in terms of load and vegetation, is not usually accompanied by the phenolic maturity required for the production of quality wines.
As we said, this September has been particularly good for the vineyards in Rioja, but after two very difficult vintages such as 2013 and 2014 and increasingly accustomed to weather changes, prevention, translated into previous work in the vineyard (thinning of clusters, leaf removal…), which of course also has its cost, is our main weapon to maintain the quality of our wines. Although, of course, a September like the one we have had is the main guarantee.

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