Posted by Santiago Achával
Hola, from the Achával-Ferrer Winery team in Mendoza, Argentina. I’ll be writing on their behalf. This is my first entry in our 2009 Harvest Blog. Of course it’s also my first blog ever, so please let me know if I’m sometimes a bit confusing. (Or confused!)
We’ve had a great growing season up to now, with the exception of some vineyards that had some hail damage. A warm, but not hot, spring led to a fruit set that was more even than normal. It was finished in a few days instead of stretching for 10 to 14. That’s always a good sign for even ripening later on.
Summer so far has been moderate, with only some high temps in January of up to 98° F. But now we’re back below 87° F again, and the forecast looks sunny and warm but not hot.
We finished our last green harvest last week in the Uco Valley vineyards (higher, later ripeness). Below is a picture of our Finca Bella Vista Malbec vineyard in Luján de Cuyo after green harvest. We’ll get around 1 ton per acre here.
Our past Monday lab work for this vineyard shows the following numbers: sugar at 201 grams, pH at 3.13, total acidity at 8.02 (0.8 for U.S. measurements).
I was out tasting grapes late last week, and skin flavors are already ripe! Seeds are a bit green yet. But if weather holds, by my guess, we’ll harvest the first week of March.
|Achával-Ferrer's Finca Bella Vista vineyard, after the green harvest to reduce the Malbec yields.|
• Planted in 1925
• 2,700 plants per acre (2.6 feet x 5.9 feet)
• North-south row orientation, vertical shoot positioning
• Post height: 5.6 feet with four fixed wires
• Furrow irrigation from south to north on a 1.5 percent slope
• Bilateral guyot pruning
• Bud-break Sept. 20, 2008
• Shoot thinned to 1 shoot per 0.4 feet
• Removal of first four lateral shoots
• Removal of 100 percent of leaves in the fruit zone on the morning side of the row after fruit set
• Deficit irrigation between fruit set and veraison
• 85 percent veraison by Jan. 31, 2009
• Green harvest at 66 percent veraison with a goal of one bunch per fully developed shoot and no bunches on stunted shoots
• Result of shoot thinning, deficit irrigation and green harvest: less than 1 ton per acre
• Harvest by taste. Usual date March 12
• Normal numbers at harvest: 260 grams of sugar, 6.5 total acidity, 3.5 pH
Talk to you soon! And meanwhile, let’s keep the weather good!