The autumn and spring rains have marked this year’s grape harvest. After the droughts of the last three years, it has rained so much that the water table has been replenished. However, the rains have also caused a general significant mildew attack affecting both leaves and fruit, which has resulted in loss of grapes.
According to the Vilafranca Plant Health Survey, the mildew outbreak in the Penedès vineyards has been the worst in 30 years, with a damage level reaching 100% in some vineyards, exceptionally. Despite this, as INCAVI stated at the beginning of August, the health of the grapes is good in terms of absence of rot, and the mildew has not affected the quality of the grapes (the forecast of alteration is less than 8% according to DO Penedès at the beginning of August).
This has been the case with the PERE VENTURA GROUP vineyards. While the rainy spring favoured the development of the vegetation qualitatively and the recovery of the plants emerging from a period of significant water stress, it caused, on the other hand, the need to act with more preventative measures under CCPAE protection to respond effectively to the mildew pressure by applying copper-based treatments to combat the fungus. In this way, the quality of the grapes has not been affected.
After three years of drought in which the grape harvest began at the end of July, the 2018 harvest has been of high quality with optimal ripening for cava, aided by the lowering of temperatures at the end of July and beginning of August, after weeks of heat. This has also meant that the harvest has been more staggered than in previous years.
The increase in production has not been significant since the vines are still recovering from the drought of the last three years. As such, grape production for still wines (both white and red) has remained similar to last year. With regard to Chardonnay, Macabeu and Parellada for cava base, there has been no significant increase compared to last year either. This has not been the case with the Xarel·lo, however, whose production has increased considerably.
At the same time, the good acidity and ripening of the grapes favours more aromatic, fruity wines with a longer finish. In this sense, chief winemaker and technical manager of PERE VENTURA, Sebastià Galimany (picture below), emphasises the extraordinary aromatic richness of the 2018 harvest, and the health of the grapes.
Jordi Calvo, winemaker in charge and technical manager of Can Bas Domini Vinícola, points to the excellent quality of the musts and the good organoleptic qualities of the white and red wines obtained. Furthermore, Bet Palahí, winemaker at Can Bas Domini Vinícola indicates that it will be a year marked by fresh and aromatic wines with alcohol levels not as high as last year.
Quality of our wines and cavas begins in the vineyard. Our team of winemakers implement quality control practices during the whole vine lifecycle, before and during the bottling. In the picture Jordi Calvo, Can Bas’ chief winemaker monitoring the ripening of the grapes, a daily practice to choose the best possible harvest dates and times for each kind of wine and to ensure an optimal healthy state of the grapes.
Grape harvest at the PERE VENTURA FAMILY WINE ESTATES
The total area harvested is 234.5 hectares.
This year as usual, we began by harvesting the earlier and the white varieties: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
In this way, the Pere Ventura Family Wine Estates harvest started with the grapes for the cava base. It began on 13th August at PERE VENTURA’s El Serral Chardonnay vineyard, harvesting grapes for the Tresor Cuvée and Vintage cavas. The Pinot Noir harvest began the next day.
It continued on Monday 27th August in the old Macabeu vine plots of l’Oreneta, l’Anciana and la Secreta on Can Bas Wine Estate. These plots are part of the Can Bas Paraje Calificado where the base wine for the iconic Gran Vintage is obtained.
Harvest at l’Oreneta vineyard, in our Paraje Calificado Can Bas. This old-vine Macabeu is used for our premium PERE VENTURA Gran Vintage Cava.
The Xarel·lo harvest began on 27th August on El Mirador and El Migjorn, plots which together with the three aforementioned Macabeu plots, make up the Can Bas Qualified Locality. La Romana Xarel·lo cava base plot was harvested straight afterwards.
On Friday 30th August, the harvest commenced at La Plana in Can Bas but was interrupted because of the rain, restarting the following Monday the 3rd September.
Next, L’Amanda was harvested, completed on 21st September.
The harvest for still wine began on 21st August at La Cervera Muscat vineyard for our single variety Can Bas Muscat. The harvest continued on Thursday 29th August at La Creu, a Sauvignon Blanc vineyard of medium age which gives its name to the single variety wine produced with this variety. We continued with the Chardonnay harvest at the El Serral plot for our La Romana wine the next day, an assemblage of this variety with Xarel·lo from the vineyard giving it its name.
The red grape harvest began at the end of September. Part of the Syrah vineyard El Repòs was harvested on 20th September. The Merlot vineyard La Sacra was harvested in two stages: the first on 24th September and the rest on 3rd October. The Xarel·lo from the La Romana plot on the 25th September.
On the 27th September, the Syrah harvest at El Repòs was completed. The Cabernet Sauvignon from the Els Cirerers vineyard and part of the Monreal vineyard was harvested on the 1st October. Monreal is the surname of the farmers who cultivated this land for more than a century and after which we name our single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, one of Can Bas’ iconic wines. The harvest from this vineyard was completed on 17th October.
7th October: start of Cabernet Sauvignon harvest from La Capella, vineyard, which is the vineyard that gives its name to the iconic assemblage of this variety with Syrah.
Harvest of old carignan vines in Les Foreses vineyard.
At Merum Priorati winery at the Porrera locality in Priorat, the grape harvest is always later. This year, it began in the third week of September with the Grenache. It has been a year of phenological delay, with greater vigour of vegetation and marked by the changing weather, with a great deal of rain at the end of the vineyard’s life cycle: 175 litres accumulated at Porrera in the second week of October, leading to harvest in the third week of October to prevent rot with the Cabernet Sauvignon.
It was a cool spring. The climate was hot and dry from June to the beginning of July, followed by a very rainy August (40 L accumulated in this month). This has meant that the size of the grapes remained small due to the drought at time of formation, and that onset of ripening was very late. The Carignan did not reach one hundred percent ripeness, but the harvest was brought forwards to prevent rot damage, made more likely by the rains at the beginning of October. As such, 10% of production at Les Foreses was lost. It has been a complicated year for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, but in contrast, both the Garnatxa and the Syrah have been harvested in optimum condition.
Grape production has been kept at average levels. “The vineyards are very healthy, which is to our merit since it has been a complicated year with the fungus. Nevertheless, we have not used any chemical treatments,” reports Roger Oferil, chief wine maker at Merum Priorati.
Wine maker Roger Oferil doing pillage during the maceration process in steel tanks.