The one about the 2023 harvest...
No, it's not an episode of Friends. It's better:
we have officially finished our 2023 vendemmia (harvest). Ta da!
Now there’s no getting away from the fact that 2023 has been a very difficult year in the vineyard. So let’s start with some of the more depressing headlines.
We lost at least 80% of our harvest due to weather and peronospera.
Harvesting the grapes was slow and difficult. In four days we gathered the same quantity that we would usually get in four hours (in a 'normal year').
At one point, we thought we wouldn’t even be able to produce a Vino Nobile (our main appellation) from the 2023 harvest.
10 days before the vendemmia, we had to find a new winery which we could use for vinification and fermentation (while we build our own new winery next year).
Just as we were ready to start, the weather intervened again, and pushed us back by a week, the acidity levels dropped, and we were worried about ripeness.
So, enough of being down, or depressed. On the positive side, we actually had a harvest - in fact, we had our third harvest! And let’s face it complaining about your grape harvest must, for a lawyer, be the very definition of a first-world problem. 😬
So to get on to the positive side.
While the quantity may not be great (at one point, we did think of naming each of the grapes individually this year), the quality is very very good and the fermentation (which is already almost over – yes we know that malolactic fermentation must still happen - for those of you who have been studying up on these things!) has gone very well.
The grape juice has a lovely color.
We will indeed make a Vino Nobile this year.
[A couple of videos -- make sure your speakers are on!]
The difficulties we face this year have drawn us closer as a team. We had to find solutions on the go and think out of the box (how did Niall and Elia fit two 5000 L tanks into the back of the Ford ranger and how were they still there when they arrived at Icario?).
We came up with a great idea to make a Rosato (a rosé wine) from next year.
We got some great content for our social media or, as Niall loves to call it, 'marketing collateral'. (Paari puts up with such terms, if only to forget the ones he used to use in his previous life in Dubai: 'let's socialize the idea!' or 'no need to reinvent the wheel!').
We also have a new enologist and a great team of agronomists.
Above all else, we now have a much better understanding of the vineyard, its challenges, and potential solutions.
A big shout out to the Icario winery. This is where we made our wine and they were absolutely wonderful to deal with. They made us feel welcome, they gave us free reign, and even a few glasses of wine (oops). Grazie ragazzi!
In the meantime, our 2021 Vino Nobile is maturing in the barrel, and having tasted it, we are delighted -- it is absolutely fabulous (and we may be rethinking the whole selling thing!).
The vendemmia is the end of our year in the vineyard. No sooner does one cycle end then we start planning for the next one.
And we know that the vineyard will be in even better shape next year.
Until next time...
Niall & Paari