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Argentina reports on ‘intense’ 2015 harvest

Heavy rainfall and frost contributed to a 10% drop in Argentina’s grape harvest in 2015, with Mendoza bearing the brunt of the bad weather.

Publishing its 2014/15 harvest report today, Wines of Argentina said that by 30 April 2015, the harvest of grapes in Argentina had surpassed 23 million tons, which represented a 10.12% drop on the previous year, and an 8% drop with respect to the average harvest in the last 14 years.

Mendoza ranked first, producing 71.8% of the country’s grapes, followed by San Juan with 21.69% and La Rioja with 3.68%. Together, the three regions represent the harvest in the Cuyo region, which amounts to over 97% of Argentina’s total harvest. Salta meanwhile accounts for 1.33% of the country’s grape harvest.

Overall, around 13,333 ha (32,945 acres) of vineyards in the country was subjected to adverse weather conditions, 40% of which was affected by hail and the remaining 60% by frost. However the south and east of Mendoza was most badly affected, both by hail and frost, which damaged almost 6% of its vineyards – a figure above previous years of between 3% and 4%.

Andrea Marchiori, winemaker at the Viña Cobos Winery in Mendoza, said heavy rainfall during the harvest season and relatively high humidity had resulted in challenging conditions.

“Mendoza was witness to a complex harvest season, a challenging one for all producers given the climate conditions and the industry’s general context”, she said. “However, we believe painstaking work in the vineyard combined with sensible decisions taken at the right time in the harvest season guaranteed the desired consistent quality in our wines.”

Leonardo Erazo of Bodega Altos Las Hormigas in Mendoza, described it as a “difficult and intense harvest”, which called for harvesting all crops in a shorter span of time.

“We deliberately took some risks, but always bearing in mind our intention to highlight the fresh and mineral side to our wines, a side that adds another dimension to the complexity of Argentine Malbec. After all, we mean to reach the next level in Argentine wine.”

Malbec now holds a 20.42% share of plantings in the country, the biggest of any Argentine grape variety, while Torrontés Riojano is currently the country’s most widely planted white variety, accounting for 4.3% of plantings. Overall, red varieties lead representing 50% of total production, with white and rosé wines accounting for 27.5% and 22% respectively.

Commenting on what was a challenging vintage, the report said: “The 2014-2015 season progressed more smoothly for some regions than for others. Losses from adverse climatic factors remained within the historical mean. The more serious weather complications occurred in Mendoza, where the heavy rainfall during the harvest season translated into a series of difficulties at the time of harvesting and made it necessary to bring the harvest date forward in some cases, in addition to conducting the required field practices so as to preserve the wines’ desired quality and style.”

A two-day joint tasting hosted by Wines of Chile and Wines of Argentina will take place in London on 9/10 September. Mercado Andino: A Journey Across the Andes, will feature more than 130 wineries, from boutique producers to established big brands, bringing with them more than 1,000 wines to taste.

For more information and to register you attendance click here.

Source: Drinks Business