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Chilean Wine Harvest 2018

After 4 years of testing conditions and low yields 2018 has produced a great harvest in Chile!
In the past 4 years vineyards have had to cope with severe frosts, rain and bush fire in the Maule valley and central region leading to lower than average yields.

Award winning Aromo Wine maker Jimena Egaña Guardiola says:
‘January 2018 was colder than its historical average in the different Valleys of the Central zone. This is a very important period because veraison (onset of ripening and colour change) takes place this month.
The decrease in temperatures produced a delay in ripening, resulting in a one to two weeks later start of the harvest for almost all varieties, compared to the previous year.
In addition, the rate of sugar accumulation, acidity decrease and phenol maturation was slow, so in general we got wines with lower alcohol content, lower acidity and with fresher fruit aromas.’
Yields are average to above average – which considering the past four years is a great relief to the vineyards and good for the consumer!

Thanks to Jimena for the information – please see her full report below:

 

2018 Harvest/Vintage Report

Environmental conditions and wine results:
January 2018 was colder than its historical average in the different Valleys of the Central zone. This is a very important period because veraison (onset of ripening and colour change) takes place this month.
The decrease in temperatures produced a delay in ripening, resulting in a one to two weeks later start of the harvest for almost all varieties, compared to the previous year.
In addition, the rate of sugar accumulation, acidity decrease and phenol maturation was slow, so in general we got wines with lower alcohol content, lower acidity and with fresher fruit aromas.
This meant the following achievements:
a) Base for sparkling wines very fruity, fresh, with good “maturation” and excellent acidity and pH conservation.
b) Mature white wines with very good natural acidity and lower alcohol content;
c) Fruity red wines, with no over-mature aromas, and with better acidity and pH ratio.
Since there was no significant rainfall until the beginning of May, the grapes could ripen slowly on the vine with no risk from mildew or botrytis damage.

Grape production:
This harvest had a significant increase in relation to wine production, with a still unofficial historic yield of approx. 1.290 million litres that represent a 36% increase compared to 2017 production. 82% of them are wines with D.O. This volume is above the average of the last two years, but similar to the volumes of the years 2012, 2013 and 2015.
This higher productivity associated with a fresh year, means good quality in those vineyards managed with high tonnage per hectare, as opposed to those vineyards managed with a controlled and balanced production per plant, where the results were excellent quality wines, much higher compared to many previous vintages.