Harvest 2018: Chile
The 2018 vintage was kinder to our producers in Chile following the drought of 2017, and the quality of the grapes is looking exceptional.
“The Chilean harvest is forecast to be higher in volume than 2017, with a beautiful growing season that, after plentiful rainfall in the winter, has delivered a plentiful crop,” says Bibendum buyer for Chile, Paul Meihuizen.
“The harvest was a later and shorter one due to late ripening, so things were really busy and concentrated work wise this year. It looks like alcohol levels will be slightly lower due to the cooler growing season. The whites in particular will be good this year!”
Santa Rita’s vineyards received plentiful rain between May and August 2017, resulting in slow bud break and plant growth in most of the vineyards. There were no winter frosts at high risk properties, such as Casablanca, Pumanque, Marchigüe, and Molina. Low precipitation during ripening meant that the grapes were also free of botrytis and powdery mildew.
"Harvest was slightly delayed," says winemaker Sebastián Labbé, "meaning the harvest of white grapes overlapped with that of early-ripening red varieties. Sugar content (or Brix) increased slowly, while the acidity and pH lowered slowly. The 2018 yields are 13% above the January estimate and 25% higher than 2017, up for both white and red grapes. This was due to increased weight and number of grapes, rather than a larger number of bunches.
"Fruit quality was very good in varieties such as the Chardonnay and Syrah from Ovalle, the Sauvignon Blanc from Pumanque and Casablanca, the Cabernet Sauvignon from Alto Jahuel, and the Carmenere and Syrah from Apalta."
Valdivieso winemaker Brett Jackson was happy with the 2018 harvest – naming it the most interesting in the last five years. Good rainfall during winter allowed the water reserves to be replenished, after severe depletion from very dry conditions over the last year. Spring was a little cooler than usual, and dry, leading into a moderate summer which encouraged slow ripening of the grapes.
“Our Sauvignon Blanc is particularly fresh and crisp this year,” says Brett. “It is showing good acidity and intense aromatics.”
Highlight's from the 2018 harvest at Garage Wine Co., where everything in the vineyards is done by hand, from ploughing the vines, to harvest, to bottling.