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Drought alarm: our vineyards are still healthy, but how long will they last?

The last month will be crucial to determine the quality of the vintage

Heat and sweltering weather can be good for vines: the roots go deep down into the soil to look for nutrition and mineral salts, and the wines become more complex. But a summer without rain has other consequences as well.  2017 will be remembered for being incredibly precautious, as, if the trend of recent weeks is to be confirmed, the grape harvest might be anticipated by ten days compared to the average period. Varieties of grapes that focus on freshness and acidity will be harvested even before mid-August.

However, issues will not be related to the quality of the vineyard, which is in very good state, but to a drop in production that might reach 30%.

According to the University of Padua, the greatest difficulties will occur in vineyards lacking artificial irrigation: “The plants have done well so far, but for how much longer will they be able to withstand the almost complete lack of water?“. Drought is driving many producers to irrigate their land, something uncommon – especially in June – for trees, which usually tolerate heat much better compared to other crops. By taking a look at the weather in the first half of the year, with the exception of February, the months are among the least rainy ever measured with record high temperatures, already very warm from May onwards.

Plus, not to forget also the incredible and unexpected frost in mid-April that hit most of Italy and brought many wine growers to their knees.

In spite of everything, all the experts are talking about an interesting vintage for wine growers and producers, to be fully enjoyed. Much of the credit goes to the professional approach of the agronomists, who have now reached very high standards.

However, the last month will be crucial to assess 2017.