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Wine News

World 2013 Harvest Round Up

As harvesting gets under way across the globe there are different reports from the US and Europe on volumes which will ultimately effect the prices paid for US and European wines.

Whilst Napa valley was enjoying perfect ripening conditions for their harvests the other week, the story in Europe is not so good. Much of Europe has been hit by hail, windstorms, heavy rains, cold and clouds resulting in one of the worst harvests in decades.

European volumes are considerably down particularly in France which is reckoned to be one of the worst harvests in 40 years. This will mean consumers can expect to pay more for European wines whilst US wines will be relatively cheaper in price.

France & Austria....
In Burgundy, some vintners in the prestigious Beaune region said devastating hailstorms in July caused near catastrophic damage to their vines and destroyed their crops. A few weeks later, similar storms pelted Bordeaux with hail the size of pigeon's eggs.

It's not just quantity of the grapes, but also the quality that is lacking. Grape pickers will head out into the vineyards of Champagne on September 24 to begin the 2013 harvest – almost two weeks later than usual. It's a late harvest all over France, but producers are confident about the quality.

The weather also wreaked havoc on vineyards in Austria and parts of Greece. Flagship variety Grüner Veltliner was particularly badly impacted by fertilisation problems – known as coulure or ‘shatter’ – thanks to a ‘drastic’ weather change from heat to cold and wet conditions during flowering.

Aegean island's grape growers, reported: The performance of the vines is 200 percent lower than last year... The group, in its harvest report, blamed a fierce windstorm that led to the destruction of many young shoots and compromised pruning for the poor showing.

Good news though for the North of Greece the harvest has not quite begun, but everything is looking very good, so the difference in harvests is really dependent on the weather.

Spain and Italy...better news
Winemakers in parts of Spain and in Italy said they were having good harvests with lots of perfectly ripened grapes. They were just 10-to-15 days later than usual.

In Umbria in Italy, Marco Caprai, head of Arnaldo Caprai winery, said he expected to harvest about 50 percent more grapes than last year. He thinks the late harvest will result in wines that are not too rich in alcohol and very balanced.

Napa Valley, Central COast and Washington State ....
Earlier harvest for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Mayacamas Mountains in the Napa Valley. Whilst the harvest is not as good as last year it still looks good.

Randall Grahm, who started Boony Doon Vineyards on California's Central Coast 40 years ago, said the harvest was going reasonably well with grapes from the warmish regions appearing about 10 days earlier than normal.

Winemakers in Washington State, which has had second warmest summer on record, also expect an early harvest. Heat decreases the amount of time grapes take to ripen. This means the berries are smaller than usual and the flavours more concentrated.

So with lower volumes of 2013 European wines on the market we can expect to pay more for these wines and with an expected hike in New Zealand wine prices - 2013 US wines are where the value will be.