Consorzio Collio 2024 (175x100)

Global warming anticipates the start of Amarone grape pressing by a month

The Valpolicella grapes responded well to the summer heat, then developing the botrytis noble rot, a distinctive feature of the passito Veneto

The effects of Climate Change, specifically global warming, with increasingly hotter and drier summers, are felt to the fullest extent among the vines of the great Italian wine territories, with maturations - and thus harvests - occurring earlier than a year ago, in addition to an average high sugar concentration. Conditions that winemakers have learned to manage, producing excellent wines even in the most extreme vintages and rediscovering a stylistic feature of the vine (and of the grapes): resilience. An example, in this sense, comes from Valpolicella, where Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, a point of reference for cooperation for Amarone, brought forward by a month, compared to custom, the pressing of the grapes for Amarone, authorized from 3 November by the Veneto Region, at the request of the Protection Consortium, due precisely to the high temperatures that this year has influenced the various phases of the vine’s vegetative cycle, anticipating them all.
“In recent years, with the advent of climate change, our native vines, Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella, which produce the grapes for Amarone, have shown more correct maturation”. In this hot year, they have shown resilience even during the withering phase, which we have managed to control, developing the traditional botrytis noble rot, a precious element that gives our wines their uniqueness”, explains Daniele Accordini, general manager and oenologist of the Valpolicella Negrar winery. “It is a vintage for red wines”, adds Accordini, revealing unusual sugar concentrations (13% natural) and good content of polysaccharides. Although the worst was feared, thanks in part to a rainfall recovery at the end of August, the denomination did not go into crisis.
Water scarcity, an essential component for achieving quality, makes emergency irrigation increasingly necessary in lowland viticulture, but Valpolicella has demonstrated that it is prepared for this eventuality in the majority of cases. “It preserves us and saves the territory, together with the high professionalism achieved in the viticultural and oenological technique. The market chooses us because of the uniqueness of our production and the quality that we can guarantee: good wines are everywhere, but Valpolicella is the only denomination to dedicate 50% of its entire collection to drying, for the production of the world’s only dry red passito wine, Amarone, which ranks among the top five denominations of Italian wine”, adds Accordini.
Cantina Valpolicella Negrar’s commitment to improving drying led the cooperative - which has 224 member families cultivating over 700 hectares of vineyards - to promote the candidacy of this millenary technique as a Unesco intangible heritage in 2014, in collaboration with the Municipality of Negrar and the Consortium, a goal that is becoming more concrete today. “A practice of which the denomination has the most profound knowledge in the world, and of which the Cantina Valpolicella Negrar is a point of reference. Suffice it to say that in 1990 we dried 4,000 quintals of grapes, which has now grown to over 30,000 quintals, and whose historical-cultural value, as well as the identity, is undeniable”, concludes Accordini.

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