2019 harvest will begin in mid-September and promises high quality
The zone is preparing for the 2019 harvest: picking of the first grapes is forecast for 14th or 15th September. The growers are satisfied and will harvest fruit with excellent acidity and pH, which allow us to expect wines with lively freshness and typical fresh, floral and fruity tones.
The 2019 harvest in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D,O.C.G. denomination will begin in mid-September. This is what transpires from the fourth series of data collected in the field by the technicians appointed by our Consortium.
At the moment, therefore, preparations are being made in the wineries and vineyards for the most intense period of the year. In particular, whilst the wineries are getting ready to receive the bunches of grapes, the final operations are being carried out amid the vine rows in order to ensure the very best conditions for completing the ripening process of the Glera grape variety.
Given the characteristics of our region, which has many very steep slopes and hillsides that are difficult to access with machinery, in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area 600-700 hours’ manual work are necessary per hectare each year, compared to an average of 150-200 hours’ work per hectare in flatter zones, where mechanisation is more common. As a result, the heroic harvest represents the time when the greatest ingenuity is called for by the growers in the area.
Harvesting will begin, as usual, in the most easterly zone, on the slopes that have the greatest exposure to sunlight, like those at San Pietro di Feletto; here the pickers will be at work around the 14th or 15th September, whereas it is forecast that the harvest will begin on 20th September in the more central zone of the Denomination (such as at Refrontolo, Pieve di Soligo and Col San Martino) and towards the end of September at Valdobbiadene, the most westerly area. Grapes on the top-quality slopes of Cartizze ripen somewhat earlier than at Valdobbiadene, so here they will be picked around 20th September.
“We are getting ready to begin the 2019 harvest, well aware of the exceptional year that this is”, comments Innocente Nardi, President of the Producers’ Consortium for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G.. “This is the first vintage from our hills that have just received recognition as a World Heritage Site; it is the first vintage without glyphosate, and it is also the vintage where we will witness the effects of the changes in our production regulations. These are all important steps that mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Denomination and are fundamental in the process of creating added value for our product. We are looking forward to a vintage of outstanding quality, thanks to its ideal balance between sugar levels and acidity and the excellent state of health of the grapes. Now as never before we must concentrate on obtaining a high- quality product that will then also give us ample satisfaction in terms of its price. Consumers all over the world will give due regard to Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, obtained from grapes of particular worth that are grown in the heroic vineyards of the Denomination, and they will be prepared – at the moment of purchase – to recognise this difference in quality. As producers, we must not disappoint them”.
The weather during the 2019 vintage
After a rather cool winter, in which temperatures were around average for the period, the zone suffered a spring that was cooler and rainier than the norm, which caused a delay in bud-break and subsequently in all the phases of the growing cycle.
This was followed by an appropriately hot summer, with temperatures that were typical for the season, which allowed us partly to recover the phenological development that had been lost during the month of May.
“The 2019 harvest is the first to see the application of the modifications in the production regulations” adds Mario Silipo, in charge of the Supervisory Department of the Producers’ Consortium. “Our objective was to underline the worth of the Rive category, recognising the superior quality of the grapes from very steep vineyards, but also to safeguard a link with local tradition with the introduction of the “sui lieviti” style of sparkling wines. Lastly, with “Extra Brut” we wanted to get closer to contemporary tastes”.
Changes to the production regulations (in brief)
The “Rive” category will see the areas that are suitable for the production of these wines modified in favour of those zones where cultivation is most demanding. All the vineyards that are not particularly steep have been excluded from the possibility of putting the term “Rive” on the label. There are now 43 Rive.
Wines in the Rive category will not be able to be put on sale prior to 1st March of the year following the harvest.
New styles introduced:
- “Sui lieviti” (“On the Lees/Yeasts”), sparkling wines that have been refermented in bottle. This style pays tribute to a traditional type of product for the zone and to the long history of making sparkling wines in the area.
- “Extra Brut”, (residual sugar between 0 and 6 gr/lt.) responds to the desires of consumers whose tastes are veering towards ever lower sugar levels.
It is the Producers’ Consortium’s duty to ensure that supply and demand for the Denomination’s wines remain aligned: considering the uncertainty regarding certain export markets (U.S.A. and U.K. in particular), a request has been made to the Regional government of the Veneto, as a precautionary measure, to hold back reserve stocks of 1,500 kg/ha of Glera grapes destined for making Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. (resulting therefore in a yield of 12,000 kg/ha rather than 13,500 kg/ha) and those for Rive wines (a yield, therefore, of 11,500 kg/ha instead of 13,000 kg/ha); there will be a similar reserve of 5,500 kg/ha for varieties destined for blending, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco (a yield, therefore, of 8,000 kg/ha instead of 13,500 kg/ha). These stocks may be unblocked should the market so require.
Delimitation of the area struck by hail and reduction of the yield
Following the hailstorm on 26th April 2019, the Producers’ Consortium as well as the relevant trade associations reported this atmospheric event to the Regional government of the Veneto, requesting delimitation of the area and quantification of the damage caused. The Veneto Region, through its AVEPA agency, identified a hilly zone that included the municipalities of Vidor, Valdobbiadene, Miane, Follina, Farra di Soligo, Cison di Valmarino and Tarzo, limiting to 8,000 kg/ha the maximum grape yield that could be claimed for producing Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. wines.
Block on registration of new vineyards
The goal of all the producers in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. Denomination is to continue working on raising the quality of the product, thus elevating even more the wine’s positioning in the marketplace, as well as to conserve the authentic beauty of the countryside from which it comes; to this end, the Producers’ Consortium has requested the Veneto Region to block the listing of new vineyards in the Register for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. as from 1st August 2019. The Veneto Region has duly agreed to this request.