The grape harvest - known in Sardinia as 'sa binnenna' or 'sa innenna' - represents a crucial moment that sanctions the meeting of work, knowledge and ingenuity and is expressed in the picking of the bunches of grapes patiently left to ripen.
Although the grape harvest takes place between the end of August and the end of October, September in the wine world is the month that ushers in autumn.
Several factors influence the harvest: the climate, the soil, the winemaker's choices, the results of work in the vineyard and so on. The reference period also changes depending on the grapes and the territory: in central and northern Italy, for example, the harvest starts between the beginning and middle of September, continuing, in some cases, until late November. In the south, on the other hand, where the climate is generally warmer and drier, harvesting is decided earlier.
In Sardinia, even, depending on particularly sultry years, harvesting begins in mid-August to prevent the grapes from over-ripening.
The time of harvesting must coincide with the full ripeness of the grapes, which have reached the right balance between the acid and sugar components in the skins and berries. A premature harvest would result in wines with a more sour flavour, as the concentration of sugars would be very low. Conversely, a late harvest would give rise to wines with an excessively sweet or even cloying flavour, as the acid components would give way to a higher sugar content.
Harvesting, therefore, requires the right balance and ripeness, which are the result of patience, commitment and knowledge of the vineyard.
What will the 2023 grape harvest be like?
According to Coldiretti data, the 2023 grape harvest in Sardinia will be down, with estimates of 25-30% on a regional basis, a figure slightly higher than the one estimated by Ismea, which speaks, instead, of -20%, with a shift from the 533 thousand hectolitres of wine and must harvested in 2022 to the potential 427 thousand in 2023.
The main problem is related to the effects of climate change, which are increasingly unpredictable.
If in 2022 wine production had faced the problem of frost, 2023 suffered the great heat and drought, which were responsible for a quantitative brake on production.
However, although production is down in terms of quantity, the quality of the grapes does not seem to have been affected, proving to be absolutely up to expectations.
Vermentino, Carignano and Cannonau, the jewels in the crown of the island's viticulture, continue to assert themselves.
Now all that remains is to wait!
Roberta Carboni has been a tour guide, art historian and Sommelier for over 10 years. She lives in Cagliari and is passionate about Sardinia, which she has loved so much, all her life, and that is why she has chosen to tell the story of Sardinia through exclusive thematic tours. In this way, she contributes to making the island known not only to those who do not yet know it, but also to the Sardinians themselves. The tours take place both within Cagliari, i.e. in the historic centre and other parts of the city, and in the surroundings of the city, going also to the south and centre of Sardinia.
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