Europe experienced historically warm temperatures during the last week of June. On some days temperatures reached up to 45°C. The warm part of DO Montsant where our vineyard is located was hit hard. The extreme heat came early in the season before the vines had time to acclimatise. The result of this caused the grapes to burn and die. The extent of the damage will not be known until the harvest is finished. The Garnacha grapes have survived relatively well, but we have lost about 50 % of the Carinyena grapes. For us, this represents a major loss, as 80 % of all our grapes are Carinyena.
Of course a halved crop yield means a large loss of income, but it also changes conditions for the planned product mix. There is now a shortfall of Carinyena grapes for our planned product mix, which disrupts matters as we only wish to produce wines using our own grown grapes. In addition, the fall in production in the area will probably make it difficult and expensive to buy grapes this year. We have now reassessed the situation and are working based on the new conditions that apply.
Recent seasons have been abnormally dry with very little rain, which is also the case this year. Some of our oldest vines, which produce the best wine, are beginning to wither away due to the drought. Our newly planted vines have also suffered. Bell Cros vineyard has no irrigation. As a temporary measure we have installed a mobile irrigation system to save the vines from dying. We are currently installing permanent irrigation systems in the most vulnerable areas, but these will only be used as for support irrigation during droughts.
We have now learnt that running a vineyard is not just romantic, but also a question of being a farmer for real.