The 2021 Wine Harvests - The good and the bad

Exceptional harvest in South Africa, but France and New Zealand had some shortcomings.

The 2021 Wine Harvests - The good and the bad

Wine Harvest Highlights From Around The World. 

Making an over-arching statement on something as complex as the wine harvest in one country is a tall order, let alone making such a statement on the harvest around the world. Different harvesting times, a distinct set of environmental factors and contrasting rules for each grape variety makes the job of a winemaker a real (but definitively rewarding) struggle. However, we can certainly have a look at some of the highlights for the 2021 harvest. 

In the Southern Hemisphere, wine-producing countries like Argentina, Chile, New Zealand or South Africa are at the end of their respective harvests for the majority of their grapes intended for still wine production. Northern Hemisphere, on another hand, will not begin this process until the end of August, at the earliest. With that being said, growing conditions at this point in time will have an effect on the quality and size of the harvest.

Overall, the general consensus coming out from the South American harvest reports is very positive. Chilean 2021 vintage is hailed as a much fresher year with slower than normal maturation times. This promises stellar quality for our younger Chilean ranges such as Chilinero and Vinoir. Speaking of Vinoir, look out for its new presentation arriving with the 2021 vintage later this year. Argentina has had some stress in their vineyards due to unexpected frost in mid-October and temperature turbulence in January and February, however, despite the delays and uncertainty, the harvest was described as extraordinary by many winemakers from various Argentinian regions. Experts predict that the Malbecs from the Mendoza region, in particular, will produce wines with 'good expression of fruit, balance, tangy acidity, mild alcohol and complex textures.' as reported by Decanter.

Three wine countries have dominated the news in recent months. France and New Zealand have reported some less favourable news as it pertains to their 2021 harvests. In contrast, South Africa reported one of their best harvests in recent years. 

French vineyards - will frost have a lasting effect? 

 

french vineyards in ice 2021 1 

In April, winemakers in France were surprised by some of the worst spring frosts in the country in the last couple of decades. The frosts were so bad that the French government has declared them as an 'agricultural disaster' - as much as 80% of French vineyards were affected by the sudden drop in temperature. Overall, it is estimated that around 30% of the 2021 crop was destroyed.

The regions that were among the worst affected were Burgundy, Languedoc and Bordeaux. Burgundy and its chardonnay vines were hard-hit in particular. A culmination of low temperatures, precipitation and geography meant that as much as 50% of predicted production was wiped out. 

Nevertheless, thanks to the French government's assistance for winemakers, combined with lower demand due to COVID, there should not be a lingering problem in the long term.

South Africa - remarkable 2021 crop.

 

south african vineyards 2021 1

Another country worth highlighting in connection to its 2021 harvest is certainly South Africa. As per the report from Vinpro, a non-profit company representing close to 2600 South African wine industry companies, the 2021 wine grape crop is nearly 9% larger than the 2020 harvest and promises to make some remarkable wines. 

To oversimplify, this year, 'the vines really took their time' thanks to cool temperatures and really generous rainfall translating to a slow ripening season, which allows for complex and full-bodied wines with exceptional colour and flavour. If we take one wine region, for example, the Breedekloof region had a very late season, good balance between yield and quality and vines developed healthy canopies. The aforementioned report points out the excellent quality of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes this season. 

Our friends from Bergsig Estate, who hail out of Breeedekloof were really happy with this year's harvest, and the owner concluded that he was really pleased with the quality of the grapes.

 

New Zealand - smaller harvest

 new zealand vineyard 2021 1

The demand for Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is unwavering, in fact, the interest seems to just increase. This year, however, New Zealand is predicting one of the smallest harvests in a decade and is shaping up to be around 30% short of that last year. Winegrowers had to deal with cooler spring weather and late frosts, on top of that labour shortages due to the pandemic also added to the pressure. 

The quality is considered to be excellent but the 2021 vintage appears to be a case of quality over quantity. Winemakers in Marlborough are all excited about the level of concentration, intensity and purity that the 2021 vintage is set to deliver to the consumer. 

We are working very hard to secure supplies to last this year but the price of the wine has increased dramatically in New Zealand and in line with the rest of the UK market we have no option but to review our pricing. 

 

 

If you want to discuss your wine requirements with one of our experienced team members, simply email wine@ewga.net or give us a call on 01524 737 100. 

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