Vintage 2020 - Vini Alto Adige

Vintage 2020

An Average to Good Vintage for the White Wines, Top Qualities for Lagrein and Pinot Noir

For Alto Adige’s winegrowers, 2020 had a few surprises in store. Above all else, the weather conditions around the maturing of the grapes caused the winegrowers no lack of headaches regarding the determination of the best harvest date. In spite of all of this, the Alto Adige wine industry is satisfied with the results of the 2020 harvest: a vintage for white wines that is good on average, and a very good one for Lagrein and Pinot Noir.
The Course of the Year 2020 in the Vineyard

In 2020, a great deal of dedication and diligence were required once again from Alto Adige winegrowers with their work in the vineyards. The winter months were warmer than average, especially starting from mid-February, with very mild daily high temperatures. After a cool and rainy start to the spring in March, the months of April and May were likewise warmer than average. However, a cold spell at the end of March required targeted frost protection measures in some locations.

The sprouting of the buds in 2020 was later than the ten-year average. However, the high temperatures in April and May were then favorable for the development of the vines, already resulting in a remarkably early blossoming in the early-ripening areas as early as around May 10. The bad weather phases in May and June led to high infection pressure for fungal diseases in the vines in some vineyards. “However, the winegrowers were able to master the situation well with their considerable efforts along with the recommendations from advisory institutions,” said Hansjörg Hafner, head of the winegrowing department in the Alto Adige Fruitgrowing and Winegrowing Consulting Center. June showed a balanced temperature pattern throughout. Precipitation, sometimes in the form of heavy thunderstorms, fell mainly in the first half of the month. July was typically warm for the middle of summer with a short-lived heat wave.

The 2020 Harvest

In late summer and autumn, there were repeated periods of heavy rainfall, making the harvest something of a roll of the dice in some cases, as Hafner reported. “The harvest of healthy grapes has rarely been as dependent on a precise picking time as in 2020.” But he went on to be convinced, “The lowered target yields on the part of the Consortium of Alto Adige Wine helped to achieve the quality targets in 2020.” Winegrowers and winemakers can be satisfied with the harvest. The sugar values in 2020 are on average around 1° lower on the Klosterneuburg scale than in recent years, and the total acidity values are at the average of recent years. As a result of the lower sugar levels, the alcohol levels are also somewhat lower. “With the white wines, that is certainly not a disadvantage, as they are slightly less dense but, because of that, more accessible and fresher,” Hafner added.

Among the white wines, 2020 presents itself as an good vintage on average with very nice Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. The winemakers are very satisfied with the Pinot Noir and Lagrein. The Merlot and especially the Cabernet had to be harvested somewhat earlier than planned because of the weather conditions – with good but not surprisingly good qualities. The 2020 Schiava (Vernatsch) comes through as somewhat leaner than in previous years.

At lower elevation locations, the 2020 harvest volumes were around five percent lower than in the previous year, and at the higher elevations, around ten percent lower. The target harvest quantities which had been set by the Consortium of Alto Adige Wine as a result of the covid-19 crisis could be met nearly everywhere.