The 2021 vintage… the weather and predictions about quality.
As a vintage, 2021 has been a really good year climatically for our vineyards.
We got plenty of water in the cooler winter and spring months, but before temperatures started to rise, which was absolutely perfect in order to avoid problems with fungal diseases.
As an organic wine producer, we only use eco-approved pesticides based on sulfur and copper, but in general we prefer to spray as little as possible.
The fact that the rain fell before it got hot, has this year, made it possible for us to wait until May-June to start with the few treatments we needed to do this year. We sprayed locally to keep quite a few outbreaks of mildew at bay in our Chardonnay and Callet in early May, and again a little later in June and thus managed to eliminate the fungus before it spread.
At the same time were so amazingly lucky to avoid frost damage during the very rare spring frost that hit the island in early April.
In addition, we sent a single man sent around the vineyards with a backpack sprayer to fight off some smaller colonies of plant lice with "Adimel", an eco-insecticide.
3-4 weeks ago, we completely stopped spraying our Pinot Noir (first) and then the white grape varieties to keep them completely "clean" for the harvest which has just started.
Last week we gave our late-maturing Callet the last treatment so that it too can be completely cleans of spray residues before we pick in the last part of September.
On July 30th, a very violent thunderstorm hit the island and many vineyards have been ravaged by hail and several of our neighbors report up to 40-50% lower yield than usual (and locally up to 90%!). Again, we were very lucky that our precious vineyards did not suffer too much from this and feel blessed that Mother Nature seems to be our very own guardian angel… Only a tiny part of our Syrah vines were affected and not too severely.
As mentioned, the spring was very rainy which has also meant that we have been able to make do with just 2 rounds of irrigation this year. First time from June 20-25 to avoid our vines suffering from stress due to water shortage and thus ensure absolutely optimal conditions for fruit set and ripening.
The second round of irrigation took place just a few weeks ago between July 25 and August 2-3 to ensure the perfect balance and sugar content of our grapes before harvest.
By irrigating at this time, we can lower the sugar content of the grapes a bit by letting them absorb more water. We watered the vineyards in the same order as we have planned to harvest them.
All in all, a very "clean" and hassle-free year for our now soon grown-up plants that are getting stronger and stronger, and fast! It is quite impressive to see how slowly some of the vineyards of the neighboring properties, planted at the same time as ours, grow and develop. The vast majority still bear no grapes and we are harvesting now for the 3rd year in a row!
We know that this is due to our enormous work preparing the soil before planting, choosing the best plants and then also our sophisticated underground irrigation system that really helps the plants generate a strong and healthy root system that naturally seeks downwards to find water. This in return gives us stronger, healthier and more robust plants in balance.
Predictions about the quality of our 2021 wines…
When we think back on how positively surprised, we were already over the quality of our wines in the very first vintage, 2019, which should not have existed at all! And last year's wonderful wines, we cannot wait to see what this year brings us of fantastic juice!
The weather has been on our side and we can now only cross our fingers that the good weather continues til all grapes are picked in a few months! Our varieties ripen at very different times and we have just started with Pinot Noir which ripens quite early in our warm climate. We want to keep the sugar content, and thus the potential alcohol%, as low as possible, but with optimal phenolic maturity, so it is always a balancing act when we choose to start.
We are super optimistic when it comes to the quality of this year’s harvest and now cannot wait to get all the grapes in.
After Pinot Noir, we start with the white varieties, and have already harvested the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Next week (week #33) we continue with Viognier and Giro Ros. Then onwards to the Grencahe for our rosé and merlot. The rest of the reds; Grenache, Syrah, Callet and Manto Negro we expect to have reached optimal ripeness by mid/late September.
It already looks as if this year's harvest will double the harvest yield compared to last year. In the first week of harvest we have brought in 22.000 kilos of grapes:
11.700 kg. Pinot Noir
5.600 kg Sauvignon Blanc
4.700 kg. Chardonnay
You can follow the harvest, as we are updated daily from the winery on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BiniVista) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/binivista/)