The estimates of the beginning of the harvest for the producers of the Consortium for the protection of Doc Sicilia wines suggest a positive balance thanks to the so far optimal weather conditions and the dedication to work of the 8,300 winemakers of the Doc Sicilia appellation which has 25,000 hectares of claimed vineyards.
“Sicily is one of the Italian regions among the major producers of wine: in 2019 we obtained smaller quantities but wines of excellent quality; we know we have higher potential since we have the largest vineyard in Italy ”says Antonio Rallo, president of the Consortium for the protection of Doc Sicilia wines. “It is useful to remember that in 2019 the Doc Sicilia produced 95 million bottles. And that in recent months, due to the pandemic that has hit the whole world, the decline in sales has also affected Italian wines. The Doc Sicilia was less affected and has already resumed its run since July ”.
The grape harvest in Sicily began in late July.
Maurizio Maurizi, oenologist, vineyards in the province of Agrigento.
In the Sambuca di Sicilia area, the Pinot Grigio harvest began on Wednesday 5 August. The harvest will continue with the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties and will end in mid-September with Cabernet and with the drying grapes. The collection was started ten days earlier than last year: it is a figure that respects the average of the last five years. We expect a 10 percent drop in production compared to last year. There is a decrease in the quantity of bunches due to the wetter spring compared to that of 2019. The quality remains high: we expect a great harvest also because we are irrigating the vines in these days of early August. There are no problems with the health of the grapes: a witness vineyard has suffered a bit of pressure from the atmospheric conditions, but thanks to the interventions of the winemakers the grapes are healthy. The heat of early August is not having an influence on the early grapes. As for the reds, it is still early to make detailed forecasts but we are thinking of a favorable balance sheet.
Filippo Buttafuoco, agronomist, vineyards in the Menfi area.
In Menfi, in the Agrigento area, it started on 30 July with Pinot Grigio and from 3 August with Chardonnay, Moscato and Sauvignon blanc. An excellent harvest is expected, with a quantity of 15 per cent more grapes, both for the whites and for the reds. In the area of Menfi the climate was excellent also in relation to the warm temperatures. At a qualitative level there are healthy grapes, perfect thanks to the mix of soils, climate and cultivation techniques such as pruning and defense against any diseases. The harvest in the Menfi area, according to forecasts, will last until the first ten days of October. The last grape to be harvested will be the golden Grecanico.
Filippo Paladino, cda doc Sicilia, vineyards on the coastal strip in the province of Trapani.
Along the coastal strip of the province of Trapani, the harvest that has just begun suggests a positive balance from a quantitative point of view, with perfect ripening of the grapes obtained by those who have put into practice the right interventions on the vineyards. The quality promises to be exceptional. Since May, the growth of the plants has taken place correctly, and even if the intense rains recorded in June exposed the vines to greater phytosanitary pressure, the timely treatments adopted by the farmers made it possible to defend the plants, guarantee their regular development and consistent growth, and obtaining the best conditions for a good ripening of the grapes. The heat recorded in the week of late July, with a temperature that reached 35-38 degrees, brought forward by a few weeks the start of the harvest of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Moscato and the spumante bases of Nero d'Avola and Grillo . Ultimately, all the vineyards are doing well.
Gaspare Baiata, cda doc Sicilia, north side vineyards in the province of Trapani.
In the northern side of the province of Trapani, whose territories also include Marsala and Mazara, a physiological decline of 10 percent of harvest is expected, to which must be added a 10 percent less for the green harvest. August 3 was the first day of harvest, the weather conditions were favorable. The quality of the grapes is good: Pinot Grigio, Viognier and Chardonnay have healthy bunches. Even Grillo, whose harvest will begin around August 20, has the same characteristics: a slight decrease in quantity and good quality are expected.
Alberto Tasca, Sicilian board of directors and president of the SOStain Sicilia Foundation
The heat is abating, the rains have been fantastic and the weather forecast seems favorable for the ripening of the grapes which are healthy at the moment. Like all harvests we live day after day, but we can say that the overview of the Sicilian vines is homogeneous and suggests a positive balance.
Laurent Bernard De La Gatinais, cda doc Sicilia and president of Assovini, vineyards in the Alcamo area.
Harvesting in the Alcamo Doc area is expected to start around 10 August. In recent years it has been brought forward or postponed by a maximum of one week compared to that date. The latest samplings carried out show a good state of health of the vines: the quality is excellent while a slight decrease in quantity is expected. The positive aspect of the Sicilian harvest is that the harvest lasts almost two months which, in normal weather conditions, allows us to gradually harvest each cultivar that reaches maturity. But, as every prediction dictates, it is better not to overreact. In the last ten years, everything and more has happened during the harvest period. Today, with this wealth of experience, we are able to face any situation that arises.
Francesco Cucurullo, president of Coldiretti Caltanissetta
The Caltanissetta area, with the exception of a few areas overlooking the sea, includes vineyards ranging from 350 meters above sea level up to 500 meters. This means that the harvest usually begins in late August. We do not foresee any advances as early vines such as Chardonnay follow the normal grape ripening calendar. The Grillo also continues its journey without particular problems and the Nero d'Avola is at half veraison and should be ready for harvest in early September. The good news is that despite the high humidity of last month we are not experiencing problems from a phytosanitary point of view.
Compared to last year characterized by a not very generous harvest, this year we expect a 30 percent more quantity, both for whites and reds. The temperatures in these days are lowering and if there are no sudden changes or pathological precipitations the quality of the grapes will be excellent.
In the Ragusa area, in the Acate area, the harvest began on 1 August with the Pinot Nero sparkling wine base and with the Pinot Grigio. Production is average. During the flowering of Grillo and Nero d'Avola a week of sirocco caused a slowdown in ripening but given the generous size of the berries of these two varieties it is not a problem. A good year is also expected in this area. Let's just hope that the August heat is not excessive to allow the grapes to remain beautiful and healthy. In Acate, the harvest is expected to be completed in mid-September.