September has come again, bringing with it a bit of fresh air, sunny days and lots of work to do in the vineyards. The 9th month of the year is indeed the iconic harvest month in our land and even if it is a super stressful period it is very exciting too for all the winegrowers. Harvest 2019, here we go!
The harvest represents the moment when winegrowers are ready to pick the results of their hard work. In fact, we have to keep in mind that healthy grapes are the outcome of a long and accurate work, which lasts exactly an entire year -from the pruning until the next harvest. But how can winemakers determine the right moment to harvest? There are some signs that everyone of us can clearly understand. The taste, the size and the colour of the grapes are for sure useful means to establish when it is time to kick off the harvest. However, they are not enough. Grapes reach their ripeness when the levels of sugars, acids and aromas come to their perfect balance. Thus, it is not just a matter of taste but a matter of chemistry too. The right timing depends then on many other factors, such as the grape variety, the season and the location where the vineyards are set. So what about harvest time in Valpolicella?
In Valpolicella the harvest takes place usually between the second and the last week of September. Here, harvest time is a very busy period since the grapes are picked by hand. Why? Well, for sure it is a matter of quality but there are also other reasons. First of all, the grape harvesting machines are not suitable for the training system we mostly use in Valpolicella, the so-called pergola veronese, where leaves create a kind of canopy and bunches hang over form the top. The other main factor is that, to produce the two DOCG wines we make in Valpolicella- Amarone and Recioto– we have to select the grapes carefully and put them intact in the crates. This process is necessary to have grapes that can dry for 3 months (the famous appassimento process). To get perfect grapes is therefore compulsory to carry out the whole harvest manually. Another peculiarity of the harvest in Valpolicella is that winegrowers split it in 2 parts. First, they pick up the best bunches which will be used for Amarone and Recioto. After the selection, all the other healthy grapes are picked to produce the fresh Valpolicella or Ripasso.
So what could we expect from vintage 2019? This year was characterized by a good temperature excursion and a very rainy May. The result are a higher acidity level and a greater concentration of coloring pigments. Moreover, in spite of the cold May we had, grapes are very healthy and loose: perfect for the appassimento. 2019 Valpolicella wines will be therefore great ambassadors of the soil and the land they come from. So, what about visiting a winery and tasting their best vintages while waiting for the 2019? Join us around one of our tours in Valpolicella, such as Three Amarone wineries, Valpolicella and Amarone with lunch or the Two Amarone wineries! We will be happy to let you discover our land!