Sensational harvest for Finca Valpiedra in one of the most difficult years in Rioja

It is difficult to forget the faces of the winegrowers after a disaster such as the one that occurred last April 28 in La Rioja, in San Prudencio. The frost took away the past work, and greatly compromised the future work of hundreds of winegrowers and wineries, since it the consequences of such an intense frost imply not only the loss of a large part of the crop but also much higher costs, especially labor costs, than in a normal season.
As we have already written in this space, at Finca Valpiedra we were lucky and, thanks to the microclimate of our vineyard next to the Ebro, but also to the preventive work of our technical team, we came out unscathed from This whim of nature has marked the campaign in both Rioja and Ribera del Duero, the country’s two most emblematic appellations.
Finca Valpiedra is located in a meander of the Ebro between the towns of Cenicero and Fuenmayor, very close to the mouth of the Najerilla at Torremontalbo, which marked the red line (to the west) for the areas most affected by the frost. Contrary to the majority of winegrowers in La Rioja Alta, we have had an absolutely calm and fast harvest: We started on September 1 and will finish by the last week of September, with very good weather and a very good end of the cycle, with fresh winds and a dry environment to perfectly conclude the ripening process and choose the optimal harvesting moments for each of the plots.
But there is another factor that marks the 2017 campaign -by the way, we will have to study what happens with the years of the ‘7’ because both the 1997 and 2007 harvests were very complicated in Rioja- such as drought. In this sense, at Finca Valpiedra we estimate a 15% lower production than expected, even supported by the last rains in August, since, if it were not for them, we would be talking about a decrease of around 20%.
However, our technical team is delighted: total health, small clusters and berries…, which will give rise to concentrated wines, with a lot of coloring matter, and with a limited alcohol content thanks to the cultural work and the work of vegetation on our vineyards.
In recent years we have experienced atypical harvests that, more than ever, have revalued the work and care of the vineyard. 2013 was cold, late and rainy, to the point that it took Finca Valpiedra’s production ahead of schedule because it was not considered to offer the full guarantees of ageing our great wine. 2014, with serious health problems in Rioja due to botrytis, was a great vintage for us as we harvested before the rains. 2015, with ‘express’ ripening, was one of the earliest vintages in the history of Rioja, like the current one, and excellent for us, as was 2016, also characterized by drought.
As for 2017, the impressions of the technical team cannot be better for Finca Valpiedra, although, in general, it will be one of the most complicated vintages in Rioja in recent memory, for some, the most affected by the frost, even heroic.

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