2017: A complex and challenging but ultimately rewarding year for the wine harvest
In 2017, Nature reminded us that we do not always have ideal weather, with some frost, some rain, lots of sunshine, warm days and cool nights, yet we experienced perfect weather during the summer and a mild spell during harvest. After the early heat of March , the frost arrived damaging the early ripening grapes in areas where the cold air was able to gather for several hours. Fortunately, this phenomenon affected us only moderately in the areas of Cavaion and Bardolino, less so in Soave, while the Valpolicella vineyards suffered only minimal damage. Nevertheless, production losses reached 60% in some of our Bardolino vineyards.
Although a number of hailstorms struck different areas in Bardolino and Cavaion and further reduced the harvest we were once again very fortunate in both Soave and Valpolicella as any damage caused by hail was quickly healed over by several days of very warm weather and the grapes were able to dry and mature well. Despite the complexities of the vintage we have been able to produce excellent wines this year, especially in Valpolicella and Soave.
The Harvest in Bardolino
The harvest began on the 5th September with white Muscat, which was fifteen days later than in 2015 and five days later than in 2016; then the Chardonnay of Dolcè and Soave, and on 11th September the Sangiovese, which was allocated this year mostly to the production of Chiaretto. The younger Corvina and Rondinella vineyards were harvested early in the first half of the month to preserve the fruity and acid tastes. On 22nd September we then picked the Merlot, partially green harvested to limit the production of grapes destined for our Munus. The harvest of the best Cavaion Corvina vineyards ended on 27th September, followed by the vineyards of Garganega and Marcobona of Cavaion.
The yield was low, largely due to the April frosts, but the quality was good, and so we are therefore pleased with the satisfactory end result.
The Harvest in Soave
Here the harvest in 2017 began with Chardonnay on 31st August, slightly earlier than in 2016. These grapes were harvested in the early morning, between 3 and 7.30a.m., to avoid the high daytime temperatures and ensure ideal fermentation at temperatures below a maximum of 15-16°C. Unfortunately, due to the April frosts few of the best grapes were produced.
From 13th-16th September we collected the Garganega grapes destined for the supply of Soave wine, and weather conditions were excellent while from 10th-12th of the following month we harvested the then fully ripe Garganega grapes from our best vineyards, which are restricted only to the production of our Costeggiola and Ferra wines. These vineyards had previously been partially defoliated to increase the exposure of the grapes to air and light and thus cause ideal ripening.
Again it was a good vintage in Soave.
The Harvest in Negrar (Valpolicella)
These grapes were harvested between 6th and 22nd September, and they benefited from sunny weather, drying quickly in our “fruttaio” (a well fenestrated drying room) with its good air circulation. We picked some 18,000 boxes of grapes in a vintage that was once again, for the third consecutive year, very positive.
This harvest accounts for about one third of our grape production, made up of 45% Corvina, 21% Rondinella and 13% Corvinone, with small percentages of Barbera, Sangiovese and Molinara. All the grapes matured well, but especially the Corvinone.
Fresh Merlot grapes were harvested from 15th September in Rovereti, and between 18th and 28th September we harvested Corvinone, Corvina and Rondinella grown in Rovereti, Tomenighe and Calcarole. Between 29th September and 7th October we picked the grapes from the old “pergola” ( trellised vine) of Pojega, which produced a great and abundant harvest in contrast to 2016.
The production of Valpolicella and Ripasso was of high quality and abundant.
However, the summer drought somewhat impaired the Merlot, for the water stress somewhat slowed the maturation of the fruit.
Overall this year it was an excellent vintage in Negrar.