Harvest in Europe: First indications from the Best Winemakers

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Europe is now scrutinizing its vines to check maturity and find the best period to pick grapes. White grape varieties' harvest already started in some part of this region but most grapes still have to get picked and then will follow the natural process that will change them into wine. I was discussing with some great winemakers in Europe and they all were excited about this new harvest. Spain, Portugal, France...It is always surprising to find that Europe, with all its beautiful wine regions, have plenty of different stories to tell when it comes to climate effect. I was talking with Cristiano Van Zeller, the winemaker at Quinta Vale Dona Maria who is producing white wines and red wines including Ports, and his first indications were quite enthusiastic: "We already started harvesting white grapes last friday. 2010 was a good year, with quite heavy rains until end of june, and hot during the summer with cool nights. In terms of volume, it seems that volume produced will be among the highest reported in Douro. At today, degrees are still low which is quite rare in our region. Red grapes' harvest should start soon but we do not rush for harvest as phenolic maturity is not yet obtained." During this discussion, we also talked with Cristiano Van Zeller about Spain as he is also producing a beautiful wine in Toro. "Toro suffered from hot temperatures during this summer. It was hot during the day and still warm at night. Harvest will take place earlier this year with a splendid quality and mature grapes. Old vines particularly will produce a good quantity of wine with a beautiful balance. This year, I am particularly impressed by the expression of ripe fruits that grapes will deliver."
Further North in Europe, I was then talking with Christine Vernay who is producing spectacular Condrieu and Cote Rotie at Domaine Georges Vernay: "Right now we are just having the right weather to complete the maturity for our white and red grapes. A bit of rain which was necessary and then a cool weather. I am very excited about this harvest and I walk everyday in the parcels to check the maturity and the taste of the grapes. It is always exciting to define the best day to pick the grapes and get them at their best potential." In September and October, more stories from winemakers in Europe will be reported everyday on www.vitabella.fr.