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31.10.2017

The 2017 Alto Adige Wine Harvest

Lower Quantities, Good Qualities

Dry periods and frost in April and then tropical nights, periods of heat, and lots of rain again and again: this year was not easy for Alto Adige’s winegrowers. The caprices of the weather brought along with them reductions in the harvest of up to one third of the normal average yields. Nevertheless, expectations are for “a good vintage with quaffable wines that are typical and inviting for Alto Adige,” according to Max Niedermayr, president of the Consortium of Alto Adige Wine.

For Hans Terzer, winemaker at the Cantina Produttori San Michele Appiano, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc from the Oltradige will present themselves with good, typical qualities. But the Schiava (Vernatsch) wines will not attain the levels of the extraordinary 2016 vintage. Although Terzer is surprised by the 2017 Pinot Noirs “with beautiful colors, concentrated, and with great fruit and body.”

The winegrowers in the Val Venosta are pleased with the very good qualities for 2017. The valley remained protected from winter and late frosts and from hailstorms. Franz Pratzner from the estate winery of the same name in Naturno reports, “There were a few problems just with some Riesling with early rot. We already harvested the grapes a month earlier than in a normal year.” Ripe grapes with ideal sugar-acidity levels were on the agenda. “The Pinot Blancs are proving themselves with lovely fruit aromas, and the Pinot Noirs with freshness and structure.” And as far as quantity is concerned, the Val Venosta got off pretty well, with reductions in harvest of up to a maximum of ten percent for 2017.

All the Work Pays Off in the End
Throughout the entire province, winegrowers began the harvest around ten to fourteen days earlier than usual, around August 25. The autumn weather, with temperatures during the day of up to 30 degrees C. (86 degrees F.) and at night below 20 degrees C. (68 degrees F.) had a positive effect upon the harvest. And the quality of the harvested grapes looks good: the first analyses of the white varieties have shown that the sugar-acidity relationship is balanced – an important fundamental precondition for fresh white wines with a good potential to develop. With the red varieties, it is above all else the Pinot Noirs but also the late-maturing varieties that present themselves with interesting values. That is thanks not least to the tireless commitment of the winegrowers in the vineyards who, in their laborious work, had to pick out and discard the grapes that had been damaged by hail.
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