Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


Harvest Report 2013 – Natural Merchants

Natural Merchants is an Oregon-based importer of organic wines from all over Europe. Here is a round up of how this year’s harvest went with some of their wineries.

La Cantina Pizzolato – Italy

italy

What were the 2013 harvest dates? Was this later or earlier than usual?

Harvests over the past 5 or 6 years were early-the middle of August – when the heat forced us to start at 5am and finish before the sun was too high in the sky. This year was like a flash from the past, with the harvest starting at the beginning of September. It was wonderful fall weather and temperatures.

What role did weather play in this year’s harvest?

May & June were really difficult months, with a lot of rain during the critical period for peronospera. We were really worried about the disease of the plants but fortunately from the end of June weather changed, going back to high temperatures.

What are the unique characteristics of this year’s harvest?

For us 2013 was a great year for red wines. The Cabernet and Merlot grapes were really healthy and fantastic this year. We are very optimistic that 2013 will be a great vintage for our NSA reds.

Vignobles Raymond – France

france

What were the 2013 harvest dates? Was this later or earlier than usual?

The harvest started September 21st with the whites – about 3 weeks later than last year. The harvest was a bit late due to not enough sun during the month of June.

What role did weather play in this year’s harvest?

Due to the cold and rain which lasted throughout the spring, we had issues with millerandage (or berry-shot) meaning the berry forms but does not bloom & also flower abortion especially on the Merlots. We lacked sun in the spring but were lucky with the great heat during the month of July! This was once again a tough year, going out to the vineyard everyday as it required our full attention on each plot.

Did anything unusual, surprising or wonderful happen during this year’s harvest?

2013 marked an historical loss for the vineyard in Bordeaux: Over 10,000 hectares were hailed upon. However the organic vineyards are emerging relatively unscathed. The raisins are more solid, less assisted, and less impacted by the rot than they would be at a conventional vineyard. More work of the soil allowed a better runoff of the water and saved the vineyard!

What are the unique characteristics of this year’s harvest?

The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was a great success. Very aromatic, vivacious, and beautiful acidity with a cool crisp. This vintage was tough on the Merlot, with rot during spring and the problem with flowering. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Francs are well-structured and aromatic. The aromatic level of the whites is excellent; fresh with brilliant color, supple tannins and well parfumed!

Domaine Gioulis – Greece

greece

What were the 2013 harvest dates? Was this later or earlier than usual?

The harvest of our white grapes varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Gris, Sauvignon Blanc) started on 26th of August. For the Moschofilero grape variety -grey coloured skinned variety- the harvest started on September 30. For all of them, the harvest was one week earlier than the usual. The harvest of the reds: the indigenous Agiorgitiko and the Cabernet Sauvignon, started on 19th of September. This was two weeks earlier than the usual.

What role did weather play in this year’s harvest?

During the months of April and May, we had high temperatures (20–30oC vs. 15–20 which is the norm) and south winds. From May to July we had sunshine with little rainfall. However, a strong rain, for a couple days in June, filled in the needs of the vines for water. After that the month of August till the days of harvest was sunny but breezy without any rainfall.

What are the unique characteristics of this year’s harvest?

Due to the fact that spring had high enough temperatures, and the summer was breezy enough without rainfall during the harvest, we had as a result a medium but qualitative production. The aromas are fine and more expressive and the flavors are more complex than the usual. It will be a very good vintage especially for the red wines.

Did anything unusual, surprising or wonderful happen during this year’s harvest?

The south winds during the spring were unusual. These lead to an early harvested vintage.

Bodegas Iranzo – Spain

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What were the 2013 harvest dates? Was this later or earlier than usual?

The harvest was done between September 25 and October 10. It’s later than usual in recent years. Although these are the dates that were traditionally harvest dates in this area in the past.

What role did weather play in this year’s harvest?

The summer was cooler than usual in recent years, which caused a delay in the maturation of the grapes. I think the effect is positive, leading to more balanced wines.

What are the unique characteristics of this year’s harvest?

The harvest quantities are smaller this year. The best thing about the crop is the uniformity of quality of the grapes. The fruits are very healthy and are of excellent quality.

Did anything unusual, surprising or wonderful happen during this year’s harvest?

We would like to emphasize that we have started using soft pressing technology with our newest generation pneumatic press. This will have a positive impact on all the wines we produce, especially in the Rosés.

Biokult – Austria

biokult

What were the 2013 harvest dates? Was this later or earlier than usual?

Harvest was more than a month later than usual. The quality was good, but it harkened back to average harvest dates twenty years ago when October was most common.

What role did weather play in this year’s harvest?

We had very dry summer and then a cold second half of August. That stopped/slowed the ripening making the harvest later.

What are the unique characteristics of this year’s harvest?

It will be a very fine and fragile vintage because of the cold climate. Intense flavors and slightly more acidity. We were patient and the grapes stayed healthy and in good condition.

Did anything unusual, surprising or wonderful happen during this year’s harvest?

That was this very very slow ripening process, with wind and sun, then a rainy period and more sunny conditions. We had a very nice finish to the season with two very warm October weeks right before harvest.