Grape harvest starts up to 10 days earlier in Catalonia

Winemakers expect a 15% decrease in production levels but hope for a "healthy and quality" crop

Pinot Noir grapes during the 2022 harvesting season in the DO Penedès (by Gemma Sánchez)
Pinot Noir grapes during the 2022 harvesting season in the DO Penedès (by Gemma Sánchez) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 4, 2022 11:16 AM

The grape harvest in Catalonia has started between seven and ten days earlier than usual because of the drought and high temperatures, according to the Catalan Institute of Vine and Wine (INCAVI). 

This year’s crop will be 15% lower than previous times because of the lack of water. However, INCAVI hopes it will be a "healthy and quality" harvest. 

Regarding the number of grapes, Macabeo, a white variety of wine grapes has been reduced, while the Xarel·lo one remains similar to the past years. 

Harvest in the Penedès county, near Barcelona, -where the DO Cava (sparkling wine) has the vast majority of winemakers- sparkling wine and early-harvest varieties started cropping on July 27. 

This is between six and nine days earlier than in 2021 and the first time in history that they start cropping this early.

The DO Penedès, the organ regulating the quality of the wine made in the county, estimates crops will be around 20,000 tonnes. This is approximately 5,000 tonnes less than the previous year, however, authorities are not worried about it.

"At the DO Penedès, we are not concerned, because the goal of the DO is not to increase tonnes of grapes or the number of wine bottles, but to talk about brand, a quality product and of an extra value," Francesc Olivella, director of the organ, said to the Catalan News Agency (ACN). 

In fact, the reduction of tonnes will be an opportunity for winegrowers to readjust production, as historically it used to generate a surplus. 

"In reality, we will be able to take advantage of the situation to improve our product," Olivella said.  

Harvest starts soon across Catalonia

Penedès is not the only county to have a denomination of origin for wine. There are 11 DO regarding wine and one for Cava in Catalonia. All of them are starting their harvesting season earlier, such as the DO Alella and DO Conca de Barberà, which will begin at the end of August, instead of doing it in September.

In the Empordà area, the forecast is to start between four and seven days before because of the high temperatures and drought. These meteorological conditions worry winegrowers as crop levels could decrease compared to other harvest seasons. In more humid sites of the DO Empordà zone, some vineyards have not been entirely affected.

Overall, the territory will see winegrowers collect their grapes earlier.