The DO Empordà begins its harvest, for the production of high quality wines
Production this year is expected to exceed last year by 15%. The traditional pressing of the first grapes, held in Palamós, officially opened the harvest
Palamós (ACN) .- The Denominació d\u2019Origen (DO) of Empordà, in northeast Catalonia, officially kicked off its harvest on Sunday with the customary pressing of the first grapes. The traditional ceremony was held this year in Palamós and was attended by the Minister of Agriculture Josep Maria Pelegrí. After four years of drought, the weather this year was more favourable for vineyards and as such, it has been envisaged that the harvest this year will produce 8 million litres of wine, 15% more than in 2010. In addition, the quality is expected to be "very good or even excellent," according to the chairman of the DO, Josep Blanch.
A Denominació d'Origen or DO certifies the authenticity of origin of products and denotes its reputation and quality. The Denominación de Origen of Empordà was classified in 1975, although the regions relationship with wine dates back thousands of years. "The spring rains have been abundant and the summer also saw rain, which has allowed the vines not to suffer from water stress," Blanch told the ANC. He also commented that the harvest had been started in good time, during which time only light rain had been experienced. In addition, the vineyard had remained healthy throughout the entire season. All this has meant that conditions were optimal for the vineyard, after four years of drought that had curtailed production. For this reason, Blanch said, this year is expected to be "one of the best harvests in recent years". In 2010, production was approximately six million litres and the quality was very good. The celebration of Empordà's harvest was held in Palamós over the weekend. The highlight was seen on Sunday afternoon with the traditional pressing of the new grapes by the Venerable Guild of Bóta de Sant Ferriol and Young Guild of Cavas and Wines of Empordà. Local authorities also participated, among them the Agriculture Minister Pelegrí and writer Josepmiquel Servià. The production area of the Denominación de Origen of Empordà covers an area of 2,000 hectares of vineyards and 46 wineries which are occupied by more than 400 growers. Over the last five years new vineyards have been created in Baix Empordà. Specifically, land has been protected in 35 villages of Alt Empordà and in 20 villages in Baix Empordà. According to the Regulatory council for the DO Empordà the production of wine in the area dates back to the 2nd century BC. The majority of land in the region is sandy texture with a low organic material content, giving perfect wine-making conditions for both red and white wine. Mild winters, hot summers and sea breezes also give the area a natural advantage. The U.S. expert Robert Parker included 44 wines from GI Empordà on the prestigious list of 'The Wine Advocate'. The list judges the quality of international wines and ranks them in order excellence. Of these, 28 have a score of 90 or more from a maximum score of 100. The Regulatory Council for the DO Empordà highlights the Garnatxa de l´Emporda, a naturally sweet wine, as a specialty from area.