The Vernaccia di San Gimignano harvest begins, and there are hopes that this will be a great vintage
The Vernaccia di San Gimignano harvest will begin with the second week in September, slightly earlier than in 2014 and with respect to the characteristics of the grape variety, remaining within the average for the past ten years.
The harvest has been brought forward thanks to excellent weather conditions, which have enabled perfect phenolic ripening and maturation of the sugars, giving us healthy grapes with a balanced acidity, in a good quantity, estimated as being similar to that of last year.
“All conditions which lead us to expect an excellent quality Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2015” says the President of the Consorzio della Denominazione San Gimignano, Letizia Cesani “Obviously, prudence means that we have to wait for the grapes to be in the cellar before we can be absolutely sure, but we are optimistic in terms of quality and of yield per hectare. Most producers will begin harvesting their Vernaccia di San Gimignano next week, following with the early-ripening red grapes and, immediately afterwards, their Sangiovese, which is ripening beautifully and is in perfect health”.
In short, we can say that the season has been hot but not dry (which is not a contradiction but a real picture of this summer’s characteristics), distinguished by very high temperatures from June to the beginning of August, when the plants were preserved against suffering by the water reserves accumulated in the spring. In August, heavy rain alternated with sunny days and considerable temperature ranges did the rest.
If we look at the seasonal trend in general, we begin with a winter that alternated dry and rainy periods, with a light snow shower in January and abundant precipitation in spring, with very variable temperatures.
The vegetative phase of the Vernaccia di San Gimignano vines began as usual, with budding occurring in the last ten days of April, preceded by the Sangiovese, which budded about ten days earlier.
June began with higher than average temperatures and excellent conditions for flowering, which took place at the beginning of the month, and subsequent setting. June continued with a sub-tropical climatic situation for a while, with storms in the afternoon and high temperatures, followed by a long period of hot, dry weather, interrupted only by occasional heavy rain, which continued until the first few days of August: an ideal situation for the vegetative development of the plants and bunches, which have no health-related problems.
Veraison began in the second ten days of July and was completed at the beginning of August, when the northern currents took over from the African anticyclone, with a consequent drop in humidity and temperatures, storms and a sharp increase in the difference between diurnal and nocturnal temperatures, which is essential to the balanced acidity of the grapes.
Thanks to the four weather stations installed at the beginning of 2015 by the Consorzio della Denominazione San Gimignano, which monitor the entire Vernaccia di San Gimignano production zone, for the first time we have an exact measurement of the temperatures, precipitation and microclimates in the vineyards of the different areas, from which it is possible to calculate the average values that have characterised the territory. This tells us that the maximum temperature in June was 34°C, while it reached 38°C several times in July and August, and that precipitation in June was 17 mm, with 27 mm in the month of July and a grand total of 76 mm in August (with peaks of 126 mm in some areas).
The harvest begins with the highest of hopes, with September expected to be sunny, allowing us to bring the grapes into the cellar in the same perfect conditions that they enjoy now.