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2017 vintage growth cycle

13 April
2018-04-13 00:00:00
2018-04-13 00:00:00

Excellent evolution of Rioja vineyards in a complicated 2017 harvest.

Rioja vineyards developed well during the 2017 harvest growth cycle, which was quite early. The year was marked by rainfall phenomena that affected the entire territory of the wine region, with low-level damage to production. The most remarkable incident was the frost in the early morning of 28 April, when below-zero temperatures lasting several hours froze part of the vineyards, mainly in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa (one third of Rioja grapevines were affected).

According to the report of the Control Board Empowered Overseers Service, which carries out exhaustive monitoring of all the stages of the growth cycle, this year’s growing season stood out for the extraordinary condition of the vines across the board.

Bud break started in the easternmost area of the wine region in mid-March, almost 15 days earlier than the previous year, proceeding normally and remaining ahead of schedule until the frost. In the rest of the region, the growth cycle maintained the initial lead.

In general terms, the end of the cycle was marked by very slow ripening. This resulted in marked differences in picking dates depending on the zone and also staggered harvesting prompted by different ripening speeds.

There were no setbacks at the end of the growing season thanks to stable weather. Potential alcohol in grapes was slightly higher than the previous year, most likely due to an absence of rainfall during the ripening period and extreme temperatures during the summer that may have accelerated sugar ripening.

Concern about suitable picking dates was constant during the season, conditioned by the development of the phenolic ripening, which initially lagged behind sugar ripening.  Proper selection together with suitable end-of-cycle weather allowed for balanced ripening, with grapes in excellent condition, pointing to high vintage quality, which was confirmed by the colour levels of the first vinifications.

The harvest

Harvest started, as usual, in the Rioja Oriental zone with the early white varieties. The first grapes were picked on 10 August (19 days earlier than the previous year) and the harvest gradually extended to other varieties in the easternmost areas of the wine region. Last year we had 49 days of effective harvest (exceeding one million kilos) and this year 37.

The grapes remained in excellent condition thanks to good weather conditions, making for a long, protracted harvest.

Canopies were being affected by the prolonged drought and heat. Fortunately, the late August rains allowed the vines to recover and continue with slow, consistent ripening. This was particularly beneficial for phenolic ripening, which had initially shown low values, falling behind sugar ripening, which was developing faster.

This, together with the good condition of the grapes, made for a singularly slow harvest, particularly in its final stages. This of course makes it easier for the wineries to manage incoming grapes and focus on grape selection based on ripeness levels.

Although scarce, the 2017 harvest yielded top quality wines with slightly higher alcohol contents than the previous vintage, good structure and high ageing potential.

Download Harvest brifing

Download Dossier Calificación 2017


RiojaWine Calle Estambrera, 52
2018-04-13 00:00:00
Calle Estambrera, 52 26006 LOGROÑO (La Rioja). ESPAÑA.
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