2017 Wine Harvest, a difficult year.

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Healthy chardonnay grapes, left, and sunburned ones. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

January is as good a time as ever to deliver bad news, and many European countries are taking time adding up the tallies of the previous year’s grape harvest and reporting yield’s down as much as 25%. Adverse climatic conditions in 2017, including heavy hailstorms and hard frosts in the spring as well as drought in the summer, caused considerable damage to vineyards all over Europe. The result, most of the wine-growing regions in Europe are had a very low harvest for 2017.

Italian wine body Assoenologi estimated that Italy would see one of its smallest wine harvests for 60 years in 2017, down by 25% on last year, that’s a reduction of roughly 5.5 billion bottles. Things are not much better in France where they have had the worst harvest since 1945, according to France AgriMer, an agency that works with both the industry and government. Wine production to fall by 18% on 2016 after spring frosts ravage vines, but hot summer could deliver top vintages – meaning price increases across the board for low yields but higher quality fruit.

The outlook in Europe’s other large producer is not much better with Spain’s output dropping down 20% from 2016, and in Germany the estimated vintage is down 12%. All in all 2017 proved to be a difficult year in Europe.

Despite wild fires in both California and Oregon the north American harvest is likely to be similar to last year. South Africa saw very small increases in yields, about 1.4%.  In South America, both sides of the Andes were affected to varying degrees by the shift from the wetter El Niño  weather system to the drier conditions associated with La Niña weather system. In Mendoza, Argentina yields were down about 30 percent compared to normal. And in Chile yields were down about 22% due to drought and forest fires. New Zealand also experienced a drop in yeilds by about 9%. Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand winegrowers, attributed the smaller harvest of 2017 to wet weather over the summer season. Australia was the only country to undergo modest yield increases at roughly 5% despite a tricky vintage.

The conclusion is that unfortunately the price of your favourite wines will probably increase this year a wineries increase excellar prices to try to cover lower quantities produced.





What the hell is Tannin?

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https://i1.wp.com/www.tondig.com/Tannin%20powder.JPG I must confess that I had been drinking wine, with quite an interest, before I paid any attention to anything other than the flavour of a wine. And when I started working in the trade and heard people going on about tannin and acidity I was kinda bemused as to what they were talking about. It was only after a tasting with Jane Ferrari of Yalumba that I began to understand what tannin and acidity were in terms of wines.

So what the hell is Tannin?
The tannins in a wine are derived from the pips, skins and stalks. They are really important if a wine is intended to age, as they are a natural preservative. The tannins give structure to the wine. They can be sensed by a furring of the mouth, or puckering of the gums,  like when you drink cold tea (which also has tannins as its made of leaves).  Tannins can also be found in chocolate, nuts and berries among other food stuffs.

 Tannins are of more importance in the ageing of red wines rather than white, as they tend not to occur to the same extent if at all in whites. The tannins act as a preservative, they fade over the years,  and the simple fruit flavours have time to develop into the more complex flavours that are found in aged wines. A level of tannins that is sufficient to provide structure, but not so obvious as to dominate the palate, is the ideal when a wine is ready for drinking. For this reason tannins are still important in red wines not intended for long ageing, as they give  structure to these wines. Tannins have different qualities, and may be described as harsh (especially in a wine drunk too young), soft (eg. Beaujolais), stalky, chalky,  and so on.