A Harvest to forget

The first forecasts, with a winter and early spring generous in water, seemed to announce a good harvest, far from those years of prolonged drought.

But, if public health has been tragically threatened by the Covid19 , the health of the vineyards has also suffered a historic blow.

While the beneficial autumn rains helped to fill the soil’s water reserves and encourage the vegetative growth of the plant cover, the warm winter followed by an extremely rainy spring caused mildew to emerge more strongly than ever, breaking all forecasts.

The large amount of rain that fell from April to June, coupled with the warm winter caused a very strong pressure of mildew ever view of the farm before or in the Conca del Rio Anoia.

Nothing like this has ever been seen before. No one ever remembers anything like this.

In the vineyards, the sprouting was strong and the growth of the plant exuberant. The rains already at the beginning of spring required the winegrower to apply earlier than in other years and with more preventive treatments, the only ones permitted for organic vineyards.

For example: trying to apply copper before the rains. Copper acts only by contact, so in the event of rain, it will reduce its presence and protection (rain washes it away)

The mildew attacks strongly, we cannot stop it, and the high temperatures favour it even more, the mildew attacks beyond the leaves: the fruit. The repeated rains in March and April made it impossible to apply preventive treatments; the vines are impracticable; new infections are assured.

Apart from copper there are other measures; biodynamic 501 or silicon preparation: the vines are sprayed with fine water, like a dew. Also phytotherapy (horsetail… nettle infusions). Both have anti-fungal effects.

We are committed to organic and biodynamic agriculture. We work for the future of the farm and the life of the soil. We do not use synthetic fungicides, insecticides or herbicides that damage the ecosystem, the soil, the plant or may leave residues in the wine.

In April we already had a dangerous presence of mildew affecting 5% of the vineyard, but the high rainfall during the following months of May and June, and the high temperatures of the winter have made the disease attack the vineyards like never before.

This led us to continue treating the vineyard repeatedly during the months of May, June and July with those treatments permitted in organic viticulture: low doses of copper, phytotherapy (nettle or horsetail) and application of silica or P 501.
In addition to meticulous green pruning.

The summer was dry, which theoretically caused a stop in mildew, but the humidity in the mornings keeps the pressure up; the weight of the grapes decreases; giving more concentration and greater production losses. The time for harvesting arrives.

Characteristics of the 2020 vintage

Rainfall has been above average at 807mm (the average for the last 25 years had been 582mm) and the average temperature has been warm at 14.5°C, 1°C above average.

The 2020 vintage is a wet and warm year, very marked by the spring rain and the drought of July and August.

It is a particularly rainy year; adding up to three years with good rainfall in a row; 2018, 2019 and 2020. April was the rainiest month since 1950.

A difficult harvest

The harvest was expected to be complicated. Considering already from the beginning unexpected and sudden losses. However, the grapes were concentrated and tasty.

Ripening was generally quick due to the low production and as there were more leaves per quantity of grapes, the grapes became more concentrated.

We started the harvest at the Raventós estate with the Macabeo from the Viña de la Plana, on the 19th of August at 8 o’clock in the morning. A hot day but full of good vibes and energy that always marks the beginning of this important teamwork. In spite of the difficulties, the team works to get the most out of it.

Pepe Raventós makes this clear from the outset: “The harvest this year was earlier than usual. Due to the highest rainfall ever recorded – the highest in the past 70 years – causing high humidity and excess fungus; and the heavy rainfall during spring at the time of flowering; we already lost 50% of our grapes. Due to this, the plant accelerated the cycle, and ripening occurs earlier. In spite of this, in 2020 we will make little but excellent wine“.

We continue to harvest where we find the best condition of the grapes; we find considerable losses: between 50% and 70% depending on the plots of land on the estate: the youngest plots and those facing north have lost between 60 and 70%; the oldest plots less than 50%. Macabeo and Sumoll have suffered the worst losses. Xarel·lo has suffered losses of 50%-60% and Parellada and Bastard Negre of 50%.

We give way to a new viticultural cycle and we hope for a better and more hopeful 2021 harvest.

In the meantime, the wines are fermenting quietly and naturally. In spite of this, in 2020 we will make little but excellent wine; The small production of this vintage and the good quality of the wines may make it the most sought-after vintage in Conca del Riu Anoia!

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