This year’s lack of rain and current drought has also affected the Catalan grape harvest, with the vast majority of local wineries bringing forward the harvest due to the small amount of fruit that will be available this year.
The heat and high temperatures have caused this year’s quantity of grapes to be one of the lowest in recent decades, although the grapes are healthy and disease-free – unlike two years ago when mildew directly affected all the harvests in Catalonia.
Penedès is one of the territories most affected by the drought, and an example is the Vega de Ribes winery, where the plants have grown less. According to Enric Bartra from the vineyard, this is one of the years in which the harvest has started earlier, although the quality ‘will be excellent’. Specifically, they started on 9 August on their 25 hectares located mostly in Sant Pere de Ribes.
The Puig Batet winery, also in Ribes, has also advanced the harvest and starts on 22 August. Like others, they have been affected by the drought and this is one of the years when the least fruit will be harvested. White grapes are the most affected, and to a lesser extent the red.
In addition to climate change, this winery has another problem: wild boar. It is an intelligent species that always manages to avoid, in one way or another, the traps and obstacles set up by the winery, said Manel Puig, who goes out every day to check if the vines are still whole, and on some nights has to shoot a flare to scare the animals away. ‘There is a vineyard that I have that is 30% affected by wild boar,’ he said. The winery is converting to organic.
One of the wineries that has not been affected by climate change to the extent that the others have been is that of Malvasia at the Hospital de Sitges. Malvasia, being a different type of vine, withstands the heat better and the winery has not suffered as much as they did two years ago in the quality of the grapes.
However, they also have the problem with wild boar, and this year it has hit them hard. ‘We won’t even reach 4,000 kilos,’ they said at the Hospital. The winery, which is ecological, has seen how the vineyards of Aiguadolç have been affected by this animal, which eats the grapes out of thirst. They will start the harvest at the beginning of September, and anticipate the worst year of the last decade.
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