The winter brought an extraordinary volume of snow. Unusually warm spring weather continued through June. For as long as our region’s weather has been documented, there has never been more rain in July and August. Nerves were frayed! Up until just a few weeks before harvest, things did not bode well for vintage 2014. We hoped for a dry and sunny September, and indeed, the weather suddenly took a turn for the better. Grapes were able to ripen in dry air.
Harvest began the second week of September, as usual in the lower sites and with the Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc. To claim that everything was absolutely perfect would not reflect reality. The wet August had affected quality and judicious manual selection was necessary before we were able to successfully bring good quality grapes into the cellar. It already became apparent at this time what would be characteristic for 2014: scarce quantities.
The next grapes to be harvested were Pinot Noir. Picking of this very delicate variety required intense labour. While a good picker normally brings in 1000 kg of grapes per day, this year it was only 250 kg. Manual selection of the grapes proved to be extremely time consuming. We were satisfied with the ripeness of the Pinot Noir grapes: good acidity, sufficient sugar content, and velvety tannins. Our new technique for receiving grapes proved highly successful this year. Grapes are gently transported via a vibration technique to the destemmer and all grape berries that do not meet our quality standards are then removed by hand on our sorting table. While similar techniques are used by leading producers elsewhere, this is the first time this has ever been practiced in South Tyrol (Alto Adige). Our on-going quest to preserve and improve the quality of our wines motivated us to invest in this new equipment. This proved to be a true saviour of quality in such a difficult vintage. The cost of our purchase and the extra labour needed for manual selection were immediately worthwhile.
After picking Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc from higher elevations, Lagrein, and Merlot, the harvest came to a close with Cabernet Sauvignon. What initially appeared to be a disappointing vintage is proving to be quite pleasing in the cellar. The wines are well balanced, have mineral acidity, velvety tannins, low alcohol and the reds are brightly coloured.
The only bitter pill for the 2014 vintage is a 20% deficit in quantity.