Drought Threatens European Harvest

Thu 15 Sep 2005

It is predicted that this summer's scorching temperatures across Europe will have a negative effect on the harvest. Drought conditions affected areas as far apart as the Liore valley in France's northwest and Andalucia in southern Spain, following low rainfall during
winter and spring. This year, Spain experienced the driest spring conditions for 60 years.

Lack of water early in the season, just after flowering, can significantly affect the health of vines. Vines are in particular need of water in the spring when the plants need
to grow and channel their energies into the development of grapes, and excessive summer temperatures can also cause heat stress, forcing vines to shut down completely and halt the process of allowing the grapes to ripen and reach maturity. Acidity and sugar levels also become hard for winemakers to control in heatwave conditions.

The good news from our suppliers is that since they are not under pressure to produce enough grapes to make the millions of bottles demanded by the supermarkets, they have been able to prune the vines so that fewer bunches of grapes are produced - but without compromising the quality standards we have all come to expect. Bottle quantities will however, be much lower than normal.

Source Wine International September 2005


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