Bages winegrowers look forward to bountiful harvest
The county in central Catalonia is bringing in its grapes with production expected to rise by 40% to 1.4m kilos
Autumn is a busy time for Catalonia's winegrowers, as producers all over the country finish bringing in the annual harvest. In the county of Bages, in central Catalonia, the harvest is looking good, with a 40% increase in production expected, thanks to the rain and cold temperatures in spring.
In fact, estimates suggest that wine producers in Bages, which has its own DO classification (designation of origin) known as DO Pla de Bages, will bring in some 1.4 million kilos of grapes, some 400,000 more than in last year's harvest.
"We've had some terrible seasons"
The head of DO Pla de Bages, Joan Soler, points out to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that, although high, the estimated figures are still only middling, as this year's harvest comes on the back of "some terrible seasons for production due to drought."
While colder temperatures and lots of rain in spring means this year's harvest might not be perfect, it's a marked improvement. In fact, Soler says that if anything there has been too much rain, but he is also philosophical: "Like all good farmers, we would always change something so that things went better."
Protecting the grapes from fauna
One peculiarity of Bages grapes is that they are small and are grown amid woodland. This, however, brings its own problems, as the vineyards need to be protected from the local fauna. That means using electrified fences, which, Soler points out, raises costs.
That is why the DO Pla de Bages head takes the opportunity to call on the authorities to provide more financial help, as "the wine sector is strategic for the local area, its culture and the conservation of the territory."
Objective: sustainable growth
Among the challenges facing the DO Pla de Bages in the future, Soler highlights the objective to continue growing, but in a sustainable way, "to keep the identity and quality of our wines." Meanwhile, he points out that Bages is also one of the country's main producers of organic grapes.
Harvest time is also a time for celebration, and this coming weekend Bages will hold its Festa de la Verema (Grape Harvest Festival). This year, the festival will take place in the town of Avinyó, with the idea of celebrating future festivals in a different place in Bages each year.