— Conegliano Valdobbiadene

The vintage in Conegliano Valdobbiadene promises high quality

The heroic harvest in the midst of the very steep hills of the Denomination will begin early for some growers and the weather during the growing season suggests that it will be an excellent year.
Vendemmia eroica nelle colline del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore_photo credits Beatrice Pilotto

As forecast by the technicians of the Producers’ Consortium, the 2018 harvest will begin about ten days earlier than average. As usual, it is the weather that dictates the vines’ development, and this year the fairly high temperatures and frequent rainfall in summer have accelerated the ripening of the grapes. During the month of August, the results of the three analyses taken in the vineyards gave progressive confirmation of the ripeness of the bunches, to the extent that in the more easterly zones of the region growers will begin harvesting the younger vineyards as early as the start of next week, when it is forecast that the fruit will have attained an ideal sugar level for the production of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G..

The Conegliano Valdobbiadene area, even though it is fairly small in size, displays within it a variety of morphological characteristics which have a considerable effect on the time of harvesting. Indeed, if in the south-easterly zone people will begin picking at the very beginning of September, those in the more westerly zone (in and around Valdobbiadene) will have to wait for a few days longer. Here the necessary balance between sugar levels and acidity is normally reached a bit later than in the area around Conegliano, because the climate is slightly cooler.

We are in a region of very steep slopes, which are difficult to access with machinery. This condition implies a large number of hours’ work amidst the vine rows that literally cling to the “rive”, in order to pick the bunches of Glera grapes exclusively by hand. (Here, 600-700 hours of manual labour are required per hectare each year compared to an average of 150-200 hours’ work in the zones on the plain). For this reason, the heroic harvest represents a period of great ingenuity on the part of the vine growers and is the final – and fundamental – step towards achieving their goal.


The weather situation in the Denomination

The weather trend in 2018 in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene region was marked by a cold but not overly rigid winter and a cool start to the spring, which led to budburst taking place in the normal period. This was followed by a rise in temperatures and good rainfall, alternating with days that were sunny but not too hot. These meteorological conditions brought about considerable development of the vegetation of the vines, leading to the grapes ripening earlier than usual: ideal conditions that induce one to presuppose that the vintage will be of excellent quality.

“From an analysis of the data we have obtained, it emerges that in the south-easterly zone the flesh and skins of the grapes are at a more advanced stage of ripening compared to the grapes in the north-westerly zone,declares Leone Braggio of Uva Sapiens, a consultant company of the technical/viticultural department of the Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco. “This evidence is in line with what these different terroirs normally express and with what we expected. The 2018 harvest should be very interesting from a qualitative point of view”.

For us vine growers, the harvest is a decisive period and, thanks to the support of the technicians who are constantly monitoring the vineyards by means of the ripening curves, we are able to identify the ideal  time to pick on each individual hillside slope within the Denomination. As is well known, these call for different and specific types of attention, even within the space of a few kilometres,”- states Innocente Nardi, President of the Producers’ Consortium for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco. “We can therefore confirm what we said at the beginning of August, both as regards the yield per hectare, which we believe will be marginally higher than in 2017, as well as the quality of the vintage”.


The pre-harvest assemblies

Pre-harvest meetings have been confirmed at Rua di Feletto on Tuesday 28th August at 8.30 p.m., in the Main Hall of the Primary School, and in Valdobbiadene on Wednesday 29th August at 8.30 p.m., at Villa dei Cedri. These meetings for the growers have been called by the technical committee of the Consortium in order to provide the results of the ripening curves and of sampling of the grapes, so as to determine precisely the best date on which to start the harvest in the various areas.