MADRID – The 2021/22 wine season started on August 1. The wine producers expect a slightly lower yield than last season, but of good quality. With a disappointing vintage in France, this is good news for Spanish winegrowers.
On the eve of the new wine season, the agricultural and food cooperative of Castile-La Mancha organises the annual congress of the wine sector. There, among other things, the cooperative will present its estimates for the coming season, in which they expect to produce more than 43 million hectolitres of wine throughout Spain. That is 7.4% less than last year, but the grape harvest that year was also exceptionally high. Nearly 60% of the wine in Spain comes from the Castile-La Mancha region. In that region, they expect about 10% less yield than last season.
Grapes ripen well
Connoisseurs expect a good wine this year. The organisations behind the protected quality wines in Castile and León also report that the grapes are developing well this season. The organizations of the Denominaciones de Origen (DO) oversee all aspects from grape growing to winemaking for these quality wines from a particular region. They expect a high-quality grape harvest, but are cautious about making statements about production figures, as these depend on the weather in August.
Climatically, there were few problems this year, except for some hailstorms at the start of the season. Temperatures were lower than normal from January to early March, and February saw more than average precipitation, providing plenty of water for the grapes to grow. The season was also dry, so fungal diseases did not play a role.
Start grape picking
The grape harvest will probably start in the second week of August with the early varieties such as chardonnay and muscatel. For the other grape varieties, the harvest starts in the first two weeks of September. Director Díez of the DO Rueda in Castile and León expects the grape harvest there to start a week later than last year, depending on the climatic conditions in August. Higher temperatures speed up the ripening process, but as far as he’s concerned, it doesn’t have to go any faster. Fresh nights and daytime temperatures around 25 degrees are good for a slow ripening of the grape and ensure better quality. The grapes look good this year, with optimal sugar content and skin that ripens well. The skins contain polyphenols, dyes, and tannins, which partly determine the taste of the wine.
Restore wine market
Spain is also looking with interest at wine regions elsewhere in Europe. No data had come out before the end of July, which could mean that the frosts in April caused a lot of damage in large wine regions in France and Italy.
At the beginning of August, the French Ministry of Agriculture published its forecasts for France. According to a report in NRC, French winegrowers will produce between 32.6 and 35.6 million hectolitres of wine this year, 30% less than last year. This is commercially attractive for Spanish wine producers.
Corona disrupted wine sales last year. The wine organisations have made efforts to be able to sell the wine produced, both abroad and in Spain itself. Last year’s sales figures are all in all reasonable and the internal market is slowly recovering.