Weather is at the top of every vintner’s minds when it comes to ensuring quality and quantity of their grapes come harvest time. Extreme weather events always take a toll on a vineyard if exposed for too long to extreme temperatures— high or low.
This year’s weather occurrences around the world have been especially rough to the top wine regions causing grapes to either dehydrate, shrivel, become tainted with smoke, ripe ahead of schedule or decrease in quality, not to mention shrink the quantity of grapes worth harvesting.
“In Napa and Sonoma, the excessive heat didn’t affect grapes for sparkling wines or whites harvested earlier in August. But cabernet is in the crosshairs,” reported “Bloomberg.”
Grape dehydration was the biggest woe for cabernet vintners dealing with a heat wave of over 100 degrees fahrenheit earlier this month.
“As juice evaporated, some of the unripe grapes shriveled into raisins. These tasted both cooked and green at the same time, which is how wines made from them would taste, too (that’s bad), along with being high in alcohol,” reported “Bloomberg.”
Some were forced to pick their grapes at night when it was cooler weather while others covered sections of their crop with cloths to lessen the sun exposure during peak hours of the day.
The extra work to sort through the grapes along with the smaller crop numbers come harvest time means a higher price tag for wine consumers.
“How much fruit vintners will have to throw away is going to be very site-and-grape specific,” Tim Mondavi of Continuum told “Bloomberg.”
Other wine regions on the west coast were hit with wildfires leaving vintners dealing with clouds of smoke, while in some parts of Europe (France, Italy and Germany) vineyards suffered from frost, hail storms and heatwaves earlier in the year leaving some regions with the smallest wine harvest in decades.
Germany is probably the luckiest region of all with vineyards despite being forced to harvest two weeks earlier than expected due to early grape ripening thanks to the extreme weather exposure. Even then, Germany will have a promising “vintage that will make fresh, fruity, complex wines,” reports “Bloomberg.”