Harvest is always a crucial moment in the wine industry, an opportunity to assess how the year went and how the future wines will look like. In this article, we offer you an up-close look at the 2023 harvest of three PDOs (Protected Designation of Origin) that are part of the HEVA – Volcanic Agriculture of Europe Project: Santorini, Soave and Lessini Durello.
In Santorini, we talked with Nikos Varvarigos, Enologist and Production Manager of Santo Wines. This year, harvest on the Greek island faced numerous challenges. In particular, production was affected by a series of unusual climatic events, including unexpected snowfall, persistent summer humidity and monsoons despite the summer winds.
The harvest schedule was delayed, and yield was lower than usual, reaching only 30% of the annual average production.
Grape harvest followed the following timeline:
- August 7th: Assyrtiko (white) for sparkling wines from the Pyrgos area.
- August 16th: Athiri (white).
- August 19th: Assyrtiko (white).
- August 17th: Nero and Rosso (red grapes).
- August 29th: Usignolo (white).
- August 29th: Mandilaria (red).
Despite the challenges, the combined efforts of winemakers and local wineries resulted in high-quality grapes. The new vintage promises wines with an aromatic bouquet of white flowers, citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit, and white-fleshed fruits such as melon, peach and pear. The vibrant acidity, combined with the island’s typical mineral character, ensures high-quality Santorini wines.
Soave and Lessini Durello
For Soave and Lessini Durello, the climatic conditions influenced harvest 2023 in a different manner. Winter was mild and dry, causing a slight delay in the budding of Garganega and Durella grapes. However, a subsequent increase in temperatures allowed to make up for the delay and be in line with the usual timeline.
Irregular rainfall during the growing season compensated for the dry conditions as it occurred when the vines needed it most. Harvest 2023 was carried out approximately 5-6 days later than historical averages.
The New Vintages
As for Soave, Garganega grapes developed in an optimal manner, ensuring perfect technological maturation and balance between levels of sugar and acidity. The expected wines will be full-bodied and fresh, unveiling an aromatic bouquet distinguished by scents of almond and white flowers.
On the other hand, Durello benefited from a technologically and qualitatively ideal season. Durella grapes grew healthily, reaching perfect technological maturation and balanced levels of sugar and acidity, making them ideal for sparkling wine production. These wines stand out for their refreshing acidity and persistent aroma.