We experienced real Sahara weeks in South Tyrol as the thermometer consistently climbed to 40°C in August and we were worried about our grapes. Sunshine and warmth are good, but burning, persistent heat damages grapes in the long run. Vacationers in South Tyrol were probably mystified by our joy when it finally rained the beginning of September.
Our old vines are deeply rooted and continue to find the necessary moisture during dry spells, but just as important as the sun is also the rain. This would always be the perfect amount at just the right time if it were up to vintners! When grapes remain damp for too long, fungus appears and aggravates grape growers, but the north foehn wind was kind to us and appeared after the rain to dry the grapes.
We then initiated the harvest. This time no one was as jumpy as usual; we were able to pick vineyard by vineyard at our leisure. It rained one day in between, but because the grapes were healthy and we had light winds and cool nights, this did not pose a problem.All of our vines grow on slopes and are distributed around our historic estates in the sites Barthenau, Yngram, Kolbenhof, Steinraffler and Cereseto Superiore. A big advantage to these vineyard slopes is that excess water can drain off into the valley. Vines that are located on the valley floor take up too much water and store it in the fruit. Grape quality declines and the berries can even burst and rot can spread.
“No more beer...!”
The exclamations of our cellar team are typically of a much different nature during the harvest; they are usually more hectic and marked by stress, urgent demands of attention, and shouts between barrels, presses and fruit deliveries. This year was pleasantly relaxing and the despairing exclaim of empty beer crates was rather amusing.The 2012 harvest will be long remembered as a leisurely one – no hectic, optimal picking times for each variety, no raw nerves, and nearly no time lost on the computer keenly following weather forecasts! The picking sequence of the varieties was: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Nero, Gewürztraminer, Lagrein, Vernatsch, Merlot, Cabernet.
Quality 2012? Good? Very good? Outstanding?
We have always preferred to wait rather than make premature predictions about wine quality. What we can say with certainty is that the yield is around 15% less than usual. We hope that our faithful and much-appreciated customers will understand if we are not always able to deliver the desired quantities in 2013.We are now allowing our wines the necessary time to develop in our cellars by letting them rest and mature undisturbed on the fine lees (see our mailing from July). The only thing that we want to say and can say thanks to many years of experience, is that all signs appear positive – very positive.
We shall keep you informed!