With perfect coordination between the winemaking and agricultural areas, the harvest in Chile’s northern region began in early February. It was initiated a little ahead of schedule, with a lot of energy put into obtaining the maximum potential of these grapevines in the northernmost vineyards possessed by Concha y Toro.
Many weather-related factors can influence a harvest. The key is to adapt, observe, plan and act. Although the harvest season in the Limari Valley has not yet finished, this is always the first place where it is initiated. The increase in temperature compared to an average year also had an effect. Another factor which affected the harvest was a snowstorm in April 2016, which provided additional water resources.
A highly qualified and coordinated team was key to beginning the harvest in the Limari Valley, says Javier Villarroel, Concha y Toro winemaker in the region. “The coordination of the winemaking and agricultural areas was key in the decision-making process. It promoted communication between us; we shared our evaluations and generated a broader vision of the context, which enabled us to initiate the harvest at the right time, entering at the precise moment”.
Villarroel explains that each year is different, and that on this occasion the decision was made to maintain and ensure the quality of the wines, especially their acidity and freshness. “We were very well prepared, we followed the development of the grapevines from budding, and from the beginning we knew that the phenology of the vineyard was ahead of a normal year. It was clear to us that the 2017 calendar would be very different from 2016”, adds the winemaker.
The Limari Valley harvest is one of the first to begin in Concha y Toro, and that was the case this year. The order of the grape varieties harvested was also maintained; first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Syrah.
From the water point of view, Limarí was well prepared for this warmer season, because in 2016, there was a lot of snowfall in the Andes Mountains and the capacity of the reservoirs reached very good levels, equivalent to that of 2009.
“Picking the grapes at the precise moment will enable us to preserve the freshness of the wine and ensure a good concentration”, says Villarroel. Regarding to red wines, there is a trend towards fruity expression and very good density, and whites will be concentrated with good acidity.
Together with his team, Javier is spending busy days in the vineyards because the harvest hasn’t finished yet. And day after day, they continue to verify that each grape variety is being harvested at precisely the right moment, just as they have done until now.