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Vintage countdown 2018

Posted: 12:15 Thu 26 Jul 2018
by uncle tom
As is fairly well known, the 2018 season got off to a really lousy start, leading to the expectation of low yields. Temperatures so far this summer have also been a little below long term averages.

But... The Vila Real reporting station has not recorded any rain since June 11th and the Accuweather forecast for the start of August is indicating a good burst of heat - almost as hot as the UK right now! Looking further afield, the Atlantic hurricane season is currently very quiet, with nothing on the horizon.

So could a silk purse emerge from this sow's ear of a vintage? There won't be quantity, and if there's quality it'll probably be patchy, but the quintas that escaped the worst of the earlier ravages might yet produce some gems..

Re: Vintage countdown 2018

Posted: 09:59 Fri 03 Aug 2018
by uncle tom
It's getting extremely hot out there.. - most quintas will probably see highs of over 40C today.

Whilst a good burst of heat for a few days is a recurrent theme of great vintages, I wonder when 'hot' becomes 'too hot' for the vines?

The Atlantic hurricane season is eerily calm meanwhile. There are some cloud formations developing that may well turn cyclonic, but they are well south of Cape Verde, so any resulting systems will probably end their days on the mainland of the Americas.

Re: Vintage countdown 2018

Posted: 12:45 Fri 03 Aug 2018
by Andy Velebil
uncle tom wrote:
09:59 Fri 03 Aug 2018
It's getting extremely hot out there.. - most quintas will probably see highs of over 40C today.

Whilst a good burst of heat for a few days is a recurrent theme of great vintages, I wonder when 'hot' becomes 'too hot' for the vines?

....
Depends on the type of grape vine. However, generally speaking when you start getting to the upper 90's you tend to have issues where they stop photosynthesis. In regions where you can irrigate you can mitigate that. I've seen a Napa producer who installed a remotely controlled misting system above the vines that turns on when the row hits a certain temp to cool it back down. If it's later in the grape growing cycle you run the risk of them shriveling (burnt). Except for new plantings, you can't irrigate in the Douro for Port so those options are out and you best hope the heat doesn't last too long or at the wrong time. As for the later it can be exasperated if you've thinned out the leaves due to a cooler than normal early summer where you're trying to expose the grapes to more sunlight, only to have a prolonged heatwave that bakes everything near or at the end (IIRC, that was a major issue in Napa during the 2015 harvest). Or which way the vines face and how they are laid out. East facing will do better as they get the morning sun and not the long hot afternoon sun. Lots of variables.

Re: Vintage countdown 2018

Posted: 10:16 Tue 11 Sep 2018
by uncle tom
Any news from the front line?

The Atlantic summer weather pattern seems to be breaking up early this year, with a clutch of systems forming. A Cat 2 hurricane called Helene looks particularly menacing, it's remnants could well dump a load of rain into Europe in about a week's time..

Re: Vintage countdown 2018

Posted: 21:18 Thu 13 Sep 2018
by DRT
Helene seems to be coming to nothing...
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...unless you are in the UK or Ireland this weekend