Chile’s 2024 harvest: Yields low and high quality

A mild winter impacted Chile’s northern and centre-southern regions quite differently. Overall, yields are lower, but quality remains high.

The 2023/2024 season has been another unusual one for Chile. In contrast to the extreme summer of the 2023 vintage, this season has been marked by mild temperatures. But the really striking thing about harvest 2024 was the contrasting impacts of the weather on the north and the rest of the country.

Ocean impact
With the El Niño phenomenon in transition during 2023, ‘temperatures in the Pacific rose 1–1.5 degrees,’ says Marcelo Papa, technical director at Concha y Toro. ‘In Chile that meant a mild winter, resulting in varied budding patterns. The high ocean temperature created greater cloud cover, less direct sunlight and rainy winters. These conditions continued after budding, resulting in slow ripening.’

A tale of two harvests
Andrea Calderón Vásquez, the oenologist at 1865 Wines which has vineyards in Elqui and Limarí in the north; in Leyda, Maipo, Cachapoal, Colchagua, Lontué (Curicó Valley) in central Chile; and in Malleco Chile’s – southernmost wine region, said: ‘It was like there were two harvests in Chile, one for the north and another for the central and southern regions.

‘For the northern harvest, I had to return from my holidays early, but I could have taken a second holiday while we waited for the southern harvest.’

In the north of Chile, the harvest was brought forward by between 15 and 20 days. From Santiago to the south, grape picking began 20 days later than usual.

North: quick and dry
In Limarí, ‘the winter was short and mild, causing vines to bud three weeks earlier than usual’, said Héctor Rojas, viticulturist at Tabalí. The rainfall in the south didn’t reach the north – the South Pacific High (a high-pressure system that can slow wet weather) resulted in a dry season for northern vineyards. Water shortages meant limited irrigation, which resulted in yields approximately 20% lower than usual.

Other producers in Limarí reported that the increased cloud cover was beneficial in the face of such dry weather, preventing overripeness in varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

High summer temperatures in Elqui brought ripening forward. Gabriel Mustakis, winemaker for San Pedro labels such as Kankana del Elqui and Tierras Moradas said: ‘The harvest occurred up to 15 days earlier than usual in Elqui. Fruit development occurred more rapidly, with greater sugar accumulation, excellent concentration, higher alcohol levels and balanced ripeness.’

The centre and the south: slow and wet
Aurelio Montes, of Viña Montes in Colchagua, said that 2023/2024 was ‘one of the strangest seasons I’ve seen as an oenologist. Winter 2023 had high temperatures and high rainfall. A cold, damp spring resulted in weak fruitset and fewer berries. Summer continued the trend of low temperatures, further delaying growth and ripening’.

‘Almost Bordelais’
In Maipo, overall the year was ‘decidedly cold and cloudy, with low sunlight. It was almost Bordelais’, said Papa. The cool end to 2023 was followed by high summer temperatures in January and February, resulting in gradual, uneven ripening. Earlier-ripening varieties such as Cabernet Franc were delayed by two to three weeks; yields for later-ripening varieties such as Carmenère were impacted by the cool spring. Thankfully, the end result was balanced; Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère both have moderate to low alcohol levels, elegant tannins and good freshness.

Sebastián Ruíz Flano, winemaker at Viña Tarapacá in Maipo, is quite enthusiastic about the 2024 harvest. ‘Harvest began 15–17 days later than usual but we’re happy with the results; the alcohol stayed low and the tannins are incredible. Fruit health was excellent because the rain held off, allowing us to harvest at just the right time. It was a great season.’

Vásquez added that in the coastal region of Leyda, ‘the cold spring impacted fruitset, producing lower yields. Uneven development steadied out in summer and we harvested on a date similar to previous years. Sparse bunches and prevalent local breezes resulted in healthy fruit’.

The southernmost Chilean wine region of Malleco experienced the same cool spring and delayed fruit development, but also heavy rainfall – 60mm fell in two days in March, triple the weekly average. Overall, the season was damp and cold, resulting in Pinot Noir with lower alcohol levels and good acidity.

It’s certainly been another strange year for Chilean winemakers, in different ways. Ultimately, yields for the 2024 vintage are 10 to 15% below average but, despite the unusual weather, quality expectations are high.

Source: Wine Business

Chile officially launches Organic Wine Association “COW”

Chile officially launches Organic Wine Association “COW” Chile has unveiled its first association for certified organic wine producers, and it’s been given a distinctive and memorable acronym “COW”. COW stands for Chilean Organic Winegrowers, and unites eight producers, who are also members of Vinos de Chile.

Last week the organization was officially launched at ProWein, with founding members: Emiliana, Cono Sur, Koyle, Matetic, Miguel Torres Chile, Odfjell, Veramonte and De Martino.

COW comes with the support of Vinos de Chile, which will help the organic wine association through the bigger organization’s R&D facility, legal teams and human resources.

The new group has been created to help promote Chilean organic wines, and to also raise awareness and the benefits of organic approaches to grape growing.

According to COW, sales of organic wines increased by more than 20% in 2021 for the founding wineries, with demand being driven by Canada, the US, the Nordics and Japan.

#wine #winelovers #winenews #winetrends #COW #ChileanOrganicWinegrowers #organicwine #chileanwine #chileanwinelovers #vinos #VinosdeChile #chile #winesofchile #vino

Miguel Torres (Chile) joins International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA)

International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) has increased its collaborative effort to decarbonize the global wine sector with the admission of five new wineries hailing from France, Chile and Australia.

Miguel Torres (Chile) has become the latest silver member of IWCA, and four other wineries from France, Chile and Australia have signed up as applicant members, committed to take immediate action to reduce their carbon emissions.

The total number of IWCA members now stands at 27 wineries, who have joined in the time since its foundation by winemakers Miguel A. Torres (Familia Torres) and Katie Jackson (Jackson Family Wines) in February 2019.

Miguel Torres has joined as Silver Member after committing to become Net Zero by 2050 at the latest and completing an annual third-party audited greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

The winery, founded in 1979 by Miguel Torres, is one of the main Chilean producers of premium wines with 400-hectare organic vineyards and presence in over 100 countries.

“We must undertake concrete actions to reduce and mitigate the impacts produced by our processes. All companies should do the same. Our participation in IWCA is key for us as we will join a strict protocol to mitigate CO2 emissions, adopt actions implemented by other wineries around the world and share information regarding new projects” said Jaime Valderrama, General Manager of Miguel Torres Chile.

The other four wineries that have been accepted as IWCA’s applicant members are Champagne Lanson and Famille Perrin from France, Viña Undurraga from Chile and Voyager Estate from Australia.

 

IWCA has launched two regionally adapted IWCA calculators for wineries in Australia and New Zealand. These tools have been developed in collaboration with Sustridge and Yealands for current and potential members of IWCA to calculate their annual GHG emissions inventories and include the most material emissions sources for typical wineries and vineyards.

 

#IWCA #wine #winelovers #MiguelTorres #winenews #iwca #racetozero #racetoresilience #sustainablewine #eyeonclimate #climatechange #sustainability #climateaction #wine #vino #vin #instawine @iwcawine

“Anteprima 2021”- Wine Preview of Vernaccia di San Gimignano by Filippo Magnini 

“The ancient crowned hill through the eyes of the queen grape”

When you are in the direction of San Gimignano, in the heart of Tuscany, you cannot help but be enveloped by the magical atmosphere, you get catapulted into a fairy-tale. The hills of “Queen Vernaccia” crown the city of San Gimignano; at its foot lies the most fascinating and characteristic landscape of the Val d’Elsa. Impressive from a distance are the tips of the “crown”, a little Manhattan of the Middle Ages. The city of San Gimignano in the first centuries after 1000 AD was embellished with seventy towers and numerous palaces, built by the many wealthy families to display their wealth and power. Still today, the fourteen beautiful towers remain to characterize the city center and to make the unique and recognizable silhouette of the crowned hill. It is right inside the walls of the beautiful San Gimignano that every year we have the pleasure to taste the new vintages of wines made in this fascinating territory.

The event this year was different from the usual February schedule. The Anteprima Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2021, in fact, was a month-long event that started on Wednesday the 19th of May and closed on Monday the 14th of June. The first day was dedicated exclusively to the Italian and international press. For the occasion, the consortium chose two principal venues: the De Grada Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, where all the journalists and writers were called to taste and evaluate the latest vintages of the sixty-nine wines produced by thirty-four wineries (Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2020, Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2019, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva 2018); and the Dante’s Chamber in the Town Hall for the 16th edition of the ‘White Wine and Its Territories’ series: “Vernaccia in Comedy”.  A choice linked to the tradition and history of Italy. In fact, this year is the 700th anniversary of the death of the poet Dante. The consortium has intertwined the main six female protagonists of Dante’s work and 6 characteristic white wines of the territory of San Gimignano. These six samples were chosen to be compared with as many wines from those that are among the major denominations for white wines: Alto Adige Valle Isarco Veltliner, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Orvieto Classico Superiore, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Blanc and Palette Blanc. A so-called ‘battle’ between elegant queens, in a magnificent hall that narrates through its frescoes the path of our life.

TASTING REPORT 

During my stay at San Gimignano, I blind-tasted all the wines, which were majestically presented by the Consorzio del Vino Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 (34 wines reviewed)

 

 

 

 

 

on my radar

Winery:  Fattoria di Fugnano
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Da Fugnano 

Brillant with pale straw core and watery rim. Pronounced flavour of pineapple with peachy overtones. Dry and sapid with bright acidity. Well balanced with good fruit and harmonious finish.  I like this wine.

Winery:  Fattoria San Donato
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 

Pale yellow core with greenish hues. The nose is fresh and fruity with scents of lemon and apricot. Vibrant entrance with medium alcohol. Dry with good acidity and a fruity finish. Lovely wine.

Winery:  Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Selvabianca 

Pale yellow core, lighter on the edge. Intense flavour of citrus fruit and green apple with light floral notes. Dry with lovely acidity which matches a good alcohol level. The aftertaste is persistent with pleasant notes of almond at the end. Very good wine !

Winery:  Il Palagione
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Hydra 

Straw coloured with paler rim. The bouquet is intense and ample with notes of grapefruit and apricot with scents of ginger. The mouth is intense and fresh with racy acidity. Quite a long finish. Fine, charming wine !

Winery: San Benedetto
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2020 – Selvabianca 

Clear with lemon colour turning slightly green on the rim. It expresses nice aromas of lemon and peach mixed with light notes of acacia. The acidity matches well with the rich fruit. Balanced palate with quite a long persistence.  I really appreciate it.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 (18 wines reviewed)

 

 

 

 

 

on my radar

Winery:  Montenidoli
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 – Fiore 

Deep yellow core, lighter on the edge. The wine expresses a beautiful bouquet of lime and orange peel with overtones of thyme and mint. It is vibrant and structured to the palate with harmonious and fresh finish. Great potential for the ageing.

Winery:  Mormoraia
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 – Ostrea

Intense straw core with paler reflections. Intriguing nose with flavour of pear and maruted fruit with a hint of almond.  Lovely, creamy palate with present acidity. Discrete alcohol level with fresh finish. Delicious wine !

Winery:  Panizzi
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2019 – Vigna Santa Margherita 

Colour ranging from medium yellow core to lighter rim. Intense flavour of lemon with scent of candied apricot. Slight notes of vanilla. Dry, lively palate with good acidity. Rich and elegant aftertaste.  Great wine.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva (10 wines reviewed)

 

 

 

 

 

on my radar

Winery:  Cappella di Sant’Andrea
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva  – Prima Luce 

Brilliant, deep yellow colour. Intense bouquet of lemon and jasmine flowers with a hint of mint. Fragrant entrance, round with ripe fruit and good acidity.  Well structured, mineral and complex.  I really like it !

Winery:  Cesani
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva – Sanice 

Medium yellow core with lighter hues. The wine displays an intense perfume white peach, grapefruit, and lemon with a light buttery note. Dry, sapid and intense with good acidity and freshness. Well balanced and harmonious. Excellent wine.

Winery:  Guicciardini Strozzi
Wine:   Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg 2018 Riserva

Medium yellow core with paler rims. Clean with beautiful nose of ripe apricot and mango with flowery overtones and a hint of almond. Medium body with lively acidity and freshness. The alcohol is well balanced with the fruit.  Elegant aftertaste.  Great wine.

A FEW NOTES ABOUT THE 2020 VINTAGE  

2020 was characterised by an excellent seasonal trend. The onset of the vegetative stages was a little early but still normal for the long term. The harvest also started a week earlier than in 2019. The health of the grapes was excellent and their quality was good, albeit slightly lower than the previous year. The wines of this vintage are smooth and round, have good aromas and their acidity is not excessive.

SAN GIMIGNANO AND ITS QUEEN GRAPE VERNACCIA 

San Gimignano is a small town of Siena, rich in charm and history. The village of San Gimignano is located almost halfway between Florence and Siena (about 60 and 45 km), and is easily reachable by car or a bus. It is a territory situated completely on hills at altitudes between 200 and 400 m above sea level. The soils are of the Pliocene era, dating back between 6.8 and 1.8 million years. And it is certainly the composition of the ancient soil that makes the wines produced in this denomination extremely fascinating and complex. The terroir of this area is characterized by the presence of fossils and shells, it is composed of pliocene soil and clay. These extremely calcareous sediments make the soil ideal to create vigorous and mineral white wines.The surface area of the Municipality of San Gimignano is of about 12,500 hectares, 5,600 of which are destined to farm productions (vineyards, olive groves, cereal crops). The San Gimignano hills present variable exposures, altitudes, soil compositions and availability of water. The multiple and sometimes unique combinations of these single factors have, even in such a small area, a significant effect on the characteristics of the wines made there.  The combination of the unique variables for wine growing in San gimignano: different exposures, altitudes, soil compositions and water…, determine, even in such a restricted area, a significant impact on the characters of the wines produced there.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a white grape variety present in Tuscan since ancient times. Its bunches are large, long and pyramidal in shape, with an average density of compact and medium berries, round, very pruinose with thick peels. It has an unmistakable amber color when it is shone by the sun. A vine that finds its perfect condition in growing in calcareous-clay or tuffaceous soils

Always a big thanks to my colleague and friend Liz Palmer ! 

Women in Wine Talks with Chile and Argentina [October 20, 2020] Another Successful Sold Out Event!

I would like to thank our Women of Wine Talks panel members today who hail from Chile and Argentina. Each discussed their wineries, terroir, and other conditions that make their wines unique. During the last 15 minutes of the talk, there was a Q and A discussion period on sustainability, vineyards 1,000 meters above sea level, the wide variety of climates and valleys, in particular a cold climate valley in Chile, and the wine varieties that are emerging.

 Panel Members:

CHILE

Viviana Navarrete – Chief Winemaker of Viña Leyda

Viña Leyda was a pioneer in the development of cold climate coastal vineyards in Chile. Located just 4km from the sea, the marine influence sustains temperatures around 13°C. This allows the grapes to ripen very slowly, enhancing and improving its flavors, aromas and natural acidity, whilst providing a saline character to the wines. As such, Viña Leyda requested the creation of a new ” Leyda Valley” Appellation of Origin, which became official in 2002 giving rise to a new style of wine.  The Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs by Viña Leyda enjoy great international prestige.

ARGENTINA

Susana Balbo  Owner & Chief Winemaker of Susana Balbo Winery

After more than 30 years offering her talent to the service of national and international wineries, in 1999 Susana Balbo decided to make her dream come true, to have her own winery. It was at this point in time that she started the construction of Susana Balbo Wines, which is in the heart of Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza.

Also, after over 10 years of sustained growth in the international wine trade, another dream of Susana´s came true: her children, José, a winemaker from UC Davis University (California) and Ana, Business Administration major from San Andrés University, joined the Susana Balbo Wines team.

Susana and her team comply with the highest international quality standards in all their processes, including Sustainability and Corporate Social responsibility platforms. Their philosophy is to produce terroir-driven wines to express the unique characteristics of each varietal. Susana Balbo Wines are amongst the most recognized and awarded wines in Argentina.

Andrea Ferreyra, Chief Winemaker Finca La Celia

A Pioneer is someone that leaves behind a unique legacy. Eugenio Bustos was one of them. When he arrived to Uco Valley, Argentina, more than 100 years ago, he sold his best horses to purchase land and planted a varietal grape from France, giving birth to Finca La Celia, named after his daughter. La Celia is the oldest winery in the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. This vineyard was the first one to plant Malbec in the region, which currently is the most iconic varietal from Argentina. La Celia has 400 hectares planted and ever since its first production, Finca La Celia has never stopped innovating. Their committed team of professionals, pursue their dream of producing excellent wines recognized worldwide, pushing the envelope always a little bit further, constantly innovating.

This group of formidable women leaders have been and are committed to the development of wine in their countries and internationally.

They have demonstrated through their life and work, and their leadership in their fields, that women make a difference. They have become incredible role models for their countrywomen and women internationally — and serve as an inspiration across countries, regions, and generations.

Thank you!