Stormen in Argentinie


De laatste tijd hoor ik weinig over Argentinie en veel meer over Chili.

Toch is dat lang anders geweest. Argentinie is lang het eerste grote wijnland van zuid amerika geweest en produceert nog steeds heel veel goede wijn.

Tot dit jaar?

Stormen verwoesten de oogst dit jaar…


Argentina Likely in for Tough Year after Hail Hits Vineyards
Several El Niño-fueled storms have damaged grape crops in vineyards known to produce some of Mendoza's highest quality wine

After a string of high quality vintages since 2002, Argentina is having a difficult year in 2007. Hail, always a threat in Mendoza–the country’s most prominent winegrowing region–has hit some of the region’s prime spots, damaging vines before the grapes had fully ripened.

"This year is a particularly difficult year. Not the worst year, but particularly difficult for high quality areas," said José Ortega, owner of Bodega y Viñedos O. Fournier, located in the Uco Valley. "It has been extremely humid for Argentina, and in the past two months we have had hundreds of storms, some of them in hail format."

This year's higher-than-normal humidity has been fueled by the El Niño weather pattern, which last seriously affected Argentina’s–and Chile’s–wine regions in 1998. The increased humidity, mixed with cool nights, creates storms that roll down from the higher elevations of the Andes Mountains. These storms have moved through almost regularly since December, hitting spots in Agrelo, Vista Flores, La Consulta and Medrano. The most recent storm, on Feb. 9, hit Luján de Cuyo, a prime spot for high quality Malbec grapes, where wineries such as Bodega Carlos Pulenta, Bodega Norton and Bodegas Escorihuela all have vineyards.

Hailstorms can be highly localized, causing damage to one row of vines, but not a neighboring row. Many growers in Argentina have their vineyards spread out to hedge their bets against losing their crop in one spot. Depending on a hailstorm’s severity and timing, it can damage the leaf canopy, which inhibits the vines' ability to capture sunlight and pass energy and nutrients to the grapes. The hail can also damage the grapes, reducing yields, allowing for the spread of rot and hampering ripening. At its worst, a hailstorm can damage a vine’s latent bud growth for the following season. Many Argentinean wineries have installed protective netting over their best vineyards in recent years to guard against hail.

The Agrelo district as a whole lost an estimated 15 percent of its grapes as one large storm on Feb. 9 spread over a 12,000-plus-acre swath of land, according to Bodegas Caro winemaker Estela Perinetti.

"For [our] Agrelo vineyards the damage is variable depending on the lots," said Perinetti. "The physical damage after my evaluation is between zero and 100 percent, and we lost less than 5 percent of our grapes."

Managing a vineyard after it is hit by hail requires careful viticulture, such as removing any damaged berries or clusters to inhibit the spread of rot.

"On December 5 we had at least 20 percent damage in Finca Altamira," said Santiago Achával, of Achával-Ferrer. "That was before green harvest, so the new leaf growth has given us enough canopy to finish maturity, after we went through bunch by bunch removing damaged grapes."

Growers also reported that the ripening is running about two weeks earlier than normal, with harvest of early-ripening reds such as Merlot anticipated to start by the end of this month. Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon typically ripen later in the season, with picking usually in late March or early April.

Bron: Wine Spectator

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