Harvest 2017: Roberson Reports, Pt.2

Published by Peter Gordon-Smith on 17/10/2017

Wondering how vintage 2017 is shaping up? We’ve been checking in with a number of our producers from across the northern hemisphere, to find out how this year’s harvest has gone. Last time we spoke with John and David Viano from Contra Costa County, California - this week we're heading to Piedmont to hear from Elisa Giacosa of Bric Cencurio and Rizieri.

Part 2: Piedmont, Italy

The unique features of the 2017 growing season were severe frost in April and severe heat in August. The frost caused heavy damage to the vineyards and reduced yields, while the heat resulted in drought conditions, smaller than average berry size, and an early harvest.

What were the challenges of 2017?

In August it looked as though the harvest would be particularly hard – temperatures were averaging 38-40 degrees and the vines were under severe water stress. But thanks to rain in early September, the vines were reinvigorated and underwent a burst of physiological ripening, catching up with the sugar ripeness. Although quantities were affected, the wines have ended up being much better balanced and of higher quality than expected.

How did you respond to these challenges?

We checked grape maturation constantly and picked a month earlier than the average of previous vintages. We were lucky that September was much cooler after August, with large temperature differences between day and night. These were ideal conditions for producing perfectly mature Nebbiolo and Barbera.

What is the result of the harvest so far?

We are happy and satisfied. The only problem will be smaller quantities than are usually available.

Do you have any interesting anecdotes or stories to tell?

The early harvest and great weather during September meant that we were all able to go to the seaside and get suntans. That was our holiday for this year!


Peter Gordon-Smith

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