World renown lecturer, viticulturist and oenologist Kenny Cabernet just back from Australia explains how the drought down under is affecting their grapes, and how our record breaking rain is affecting ours! it ain’t grape! I mean great!!!
Last week we learned how the two extreme weather patterns impact the wine business.
How about all this rain? “Not good” says Kenny Cabernet. Too much rain will make the grape swell. The must is diluted and the all important ratio of skin to must is too great for red wines. The sugars and flavours can become compromised, less concentrated. Without the bathing of the sun on the grapes, they have little chance to become sweeter, to concentrate the extract. And we can’t forget about the possibility of various strains of mould affecting the grapes, having them rot from too much moisture. In heavy rains the skin can break leaving it prone to mould and infection. “If we don’t get a lot of warmth and sunshine for the balance of August and September the 08 vintage will be a tough one. The winemakers will have to focus on harvesting the best fruit.
What about on the other side of the world? What’s going on?
Australia is suffering badly from a string of very dry years, the river beds are cracking from the continuous drought with little or no water in some cases available to irrigate. The reservoirs of water are depleted and where to go for moisture when there is no rainfall and no reserve? The concentration of the sugars are out of whack compared to the levels of acidity. You need both to produce well balanced wines. Too much sugar can translate into very high alcohol levels; this coupled with a lack of acidity can lead to flabby wines.
“There are some regions though,” Kenny says “that are blessed at higher altitudes that experience less water problems”. Lets hope for a dry spell here and a long awaited and much needed massive rainfall for our friends, the Aussies!