Harvest 2018: Brazil and Uruguay

Quality, quality, quality – that’s what our producers in Brazil and Uruguay are reporting this year. Extremely favourable weather conditions throughout the growing period and harvest meant low risk of disease and well-developed fruit in both countries, and our winemakers are positive of the quality of the 2018 vintage.

Miolo Winery claim 2018 to be “the best vintage of the decade,” and the Brazilian Wine Institute (Ibravin) are equally enthusiastic about 2018 after a tough few vintages the past three years: “2015 and 2016 were difficult years, but 2018 will undoubtedly be a year of recovery – considering our good harvest, high-quality grapes, and prospects for a more appreciated dollar,” says Carlos Paviani, Ibravin institutional relations director. “The smoother the grape-ripening process, the more balanced the wine tends to be, with higher alcohol levels and less acidity.*”

Bibendum buyer for South America, Paul Meihuizen, says “I am extremely excited about the quality of the 2018 vintage. The wines from Bodega Garzon already offer exceptionally-exciting wines at this price point, so to have them going up another notch in quality this year will only drive more interest in a producer that's still a relatively new player in the wider wine world. We are privileged and honoured to be partners with the top producer from Uruguay.

“Miolo are in many ways the Brazilian wine category in the UK on trade, so I am delighted that they have had a great vintage this year. Brazil is not necessarily an obvious choice for a lot of wine drinkers but once they give it a try they are without doubt both surprised and excited by the quality in the bottle. Looking forward to tasting the 2018 vintage when it is released as I am sure are followers and supporters of this country's wines.”

“Miolo are in many ways the Brazilian wine category in the UK on trade."

Miolo Winery, Brazil

This year’s climate was the best in six years for Miolo, who are expecting this to be their best vintage yet. It didn’t start so optimistically, with a mild 2017 winter leading to fears of disrupting the vines’ dormancy and interfering with volumes. Spring saw average temperatures with little fluctuation, leading to continuous vegetative growth.

Due to the mild winter temperatures, some varieties showed fewer flowers per bunch, leaving them a little thinner and with a lower average weight. However, these less-compacted bunches were also less susceptible to disease and allowed berries to ripen well. There was sufficient rain during spring, slightly lower than average in summer due to the effects of La Niña (which occurs when sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean drop to lower-than-normal levels). This was perfect for ensuring grape quality and good health.

Mild nighttime temperatures were crucial in the maturation period, with an average thermal amplitude of 16-20°C assisting the accumulation of colour in the red varieties.

Bodega Garzon, Uruguay

“This harvest will be remembered for its exceptional quality,” says winemaker Germán Bruzzone.

A relatively-mild winter brought early bud break, which allowed the grapes to achieve greater maturation levels and tannins. Rainfall was average during spring and summer, allowing the protective vine canopy to develop. January saw a drop in rainfall, leading to a water deficit that forced the winery to use drip irrigation in the vineyards to ensure proper fruit development. Veraison was uniform, allowing the vine to focus on maturing the grapes.

Germán is positive about the quality across the final wines: “Due to the slightly cooler nights this year, we expect our 2018 Albarino to be crisp, vibrant and elegant. The Pinot Noir rosé stands out for its excellent balance between sugar and acidity, and will be the freshest and most energetic yet. The Tannat harvest provided fruit with the ideal tannin level, which will translate into a delicious and well-balanced 2018 vintage.”

See an overview of the Southern Hemisphere harvest in our 2018 report

*Quote source: thebrasilians.com

Jess cut her teeth in the drinks industry throwing muddlers around behind the bar at Be At One. After a brief stint as an education journalist she found her way back to booze in the rather more sophisticated arena of wine, and was shown the ropes by the very best wine educators at Bibendum.

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