23 Aug Bodegas Dominio de Berzal prepares for the 2022 harvest
The 2022 grape harvest is already knocking on the door and at Bodegas Dominio de Berzal we are finalising the details to prepare for this most important moment of the year. What are the tasks carried out in the vineyard and in the winery prior to the start of the harvest? How do we organise this crucial time for us? We look at it below.
With an unusually hot summer, with many consecutive days above 35 degrees and warm winds from the south, we are privileged to have a drip irrigation system -present in 85 percent of our vineyards-, which has avoided water stress to the vines and has allowed the ripening process to run its course correctly.
Over the last few days, in the vineyards with the highest production, we have been removing the surplus of lower quality grapes to allow the rest to ripen and nourish satisfactorily. In the case of the Viura grape, which due to its morphology of “tight” bunches retains more moisture and is prone to botrytis, it is time to apply a totally ecological treatment to prevent outbreaks.
As for the work in the winery, these weeks we will be bottling the young wines, whites and reds, and crianzas. In addition, we have already introduced and installed new tanks to improve our capacity. It is also the time to talk to our contacts in other appellations, who tell us how the harvest is going in each one and the aspects we have to pay attention to.
In addition to the work in the vineyard and winery, at this time of year we have to carry out an essential management task: getting the crews to work during the harvest. This is not a trivial matter, because the lack of manpower in agriculture makes it more and more complicated. Fortunately, at Bodegas Dominio de Berzal we have been working for six seasons, and this will be the seventh, with the same team: ten workers from Mali who have already committed themselves for the 15 days that the harvest usually lasts.
The grapes are ripening satisfactorily
Without taking our eyes off the sky, this last week has been perfect weather-wise, with temperatures around 25-27 degrees Celsius and cold nights for the grapes to ripen as expected. Right now, rain would also be welcome because, in general, there is a lack of water. What would not be welcome would be hail, which at this stage is very dangerous; nor would excessively high temperatures, above 35 degrees Celsius, which make the vines suffer.
As for expectations for the start of the harvest, although it is still too early to say for sure, we do sense a novelty with respect to previous years: the harvesting of red grapes will begin before the white grapes. Although it will not be generalised, in the Tempranillo vineyards that have been irrigated during the summer the process has been accelerated and they are well advanced, so we will probably start this year with our vineyards in Lapuebla.
There are still several weeks to go before we start picking grapes and it is too early to make any forecasts. From experience we know that the last week before the harvest the weather can take a 180-degree turn. We have as a reference the 2003 harvest, with a very hot summer that resulted in very good wines. But anything can happen in the last few weeks. If it continues as in the last few days, the next vintage of Bodegas Dominio de Berzal could be exceptional.