Time will tell if challenging 2021 grape harvest affects wines across world

15.10.2021 185 views

The heady aroma of crushed grapes (must, as it is known in the industry) is filling the air of wineries across the Northern Hemisphere. Starting as early as August in some regions, and continuing into October in others (depending on varietal and climate), the 2021 grape harvest is shaping up to be one for the record books—not all of it in a good way.

Trouble began in France with unseasonably warm weather in March, which prompted early buds in vineyards, only to be followed by days of freezing temperatures in April. French authorities estimated that 80% of vineyards were affected to some degree. About 30% of the crop was lost by harvest time.

Some of France's most venerated wine regions suffered loss, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Languedoc. The Champagne appellation was hit particularly hard but, because non-vintage Champagne is a blend of multiple vintages, the bubbly will continue to flow.

Across the border in Italy, grapes ripened later than normal in the north and earlier than normal in the south. Overall, grape production has been somewhat smaller than usual, but quality is generally high.

Spain is another major wine producer experiencing a slightly smaller crop than usual but the fruit is especially vibrant. It might seem like a strange corollary, but smaller crop yields are often linked to higher quality wines because stress on vines tends to produce fewer/smaller grapes but grapes with more concentrated flavor.

Back here in the USA, California faced another year of wildfires and scorching heat. Following the pattern in Europe, high temperatures led to an earlier harvest and fewer tons of grapes per acre. While the quality of North Coast wines looks good, excessive heat generates more sugar in the grapes, which can be challenging to wine makers because extra sugar in the fruit translates into higher than normal alcohol levels during fermentation.

Washington and Oregon turned into Mother Nature’s microwave this summer, a recipe for trouble in the vineyards. Fortunately, heavy spring rains had produced heavy canopies (leaves), protecting many of the grapes from glaring sun. Climate related troubles continued nevertheless, as wine makers worry that wild fires may have tainted the fruit with smoke—a real problem for thin-skinned grapes such as Oregon’s famous pinot noir.

Source - https://www.tennessean.com


Italy - Bad weather strikes Sicily once again

A bad weather front has hit an area specialized in intensive cultivation in protected facilities between Gela (CL) and Ispica (RG), Sicily. The damage registered hasn't been huge, at least not everywhere, but some companies had to deal with the partial collapse of their greenhouses or polytunnels.


India - Farmers In Bhadrak, Puri districts stare at huge crop loss prospects

Farmers are going to bear the brunt of approaching cyclone Jawad as they are yet to shift their harvested paddy to safety. Already affected by the pandemic, paddy farmers and vegetable growers hoped for a decent harvest this season. But, cyclone ‘Jawad’ is going to dash their hopes to the ground. 


United Kingdom - Success in chemical-free insect control trial

A unique field trial achieved a 91 per cent reduction in an invasive target pest first spotted in the UK in 2012. Agritech start-up BigSis conducted the trial in partnership with Berry Gardens, the UK’s largest supplier of berries and cherries, and the world-renowned research institute NIAB EMR.


India - Flood loss pegged at Rs 11k crore, crop on 10 lakh hectares damaged in Karnataka

Heavy rains in the last two months claimed 42 lives and left a trail of destruction in several districts. The state government has pegged the losses at Rs 11,916 crore. Agriculture crops in over 7.9 lakh hectares, 1.25 lakh hectares of horticulture crops, 74,530 hectares of plantation crops and 243 hectares of sericulture crops have been damaged due to heavy rains in October and November 2021.


USA - New research takes aim at devastating citrus greening

Citrus greening, or Huanglongbing disease, HLB, is the most devastating disease for orange and grapefruit trees in the U.S. Prevention and treatment methods have proven elusive, and a definitive cure does not exist.


Israel - In MY 2020/21, citrus production dropped 4.3 percent below initial 2020 estimates

It is estimated that MY 2021/22 will be characterized by low production – falling considerably below the average total citrus production of 512 thousand metric tons (TMT) – due to extreme weather conditions during the growing season.


France - Small harvest and difficult sales in 2021

According to the French agricultural statistics service Agreste, “On November 1st 2021, the estimated areas planted with melons in 2021 correspond to 12,100 ha, which is 1% more than last year and 6% less than the 2016-2020 average. 


USA - USDA improves, strengthens crop insurance for hemp producers

In response to feedback received from the producers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is improving crop insurance for hemp. USDA’s Risk Management Agency is strengthening the hemp crop insurance policy by adding flexibilities around how producers work with processors as well as improving consistency with the most recent USDA hemp regulation.