Guest blogger Serena Zanatta from Cantina Pizzolato Italian Organic Wine shares stories of the 2017 harvest.
The 2017 harvest was good but not simple: our long-time experience into the Italian organic wine sector, which distinguishes us in Italy, has led us to understand that we are proactive towards the vineyard, assessing when to do the treatments and with which time intervals. We tackled the vintage with timeliness and punctuality, preserving 100% of the quality. The 2017 vintage will be remembered for the drought that has characterized the entire national production, bringing a negative mark to the amount of grapes produced over 2016. Our results were definitely better thanks to the use of “rescue irrigation” that avoided the vines suffering from lack of water.
Our irrigation system uses hydrogeological (ground) water that conveys water in the vineyards through an automated system, optimizing its use and avoiding waste. In general, all grape varieties were healthy with large grains and heavy bunches, with a moderate degree of sweetness and acidity.
The Role of Weather in the 2017 Vintage
This year, the harvest began earlier than last year because the vegetation began to sprout 15 days earlier in the spring. The August heat, however, slowed down the ripening. The weather was hostile, presenting our first difficulty in April: an unexpected frost that reduced our production by 5%. This year, with its strong rains and thunderstorms, the weather caused trouble for many wineries in Treviso and in the Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG areas. Fortunately, we were not damaged, but we are definitely seeing an increased “tropicalization” of our climate.
The Varieties of the Italian Organic Wine Harvest
The harvest was made thanks to a latest-generation machine, for the majority of our varieties. Due to a soft vine shake, the machine causes the detachment of the grape without any stress for the vine. The leader has surely been the Prosecco and its variety, glera. Its bunches were really compact and an intense yellow. The freezing temperatures in April however brought a smaller fertility of the vine, achieving a lower amount per hectare.
Our Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, were the first grapes harvested from in our vineyards, in late August and early September. The bunches were very compacted and have an excellent balance between acidity and sugar. These varieties will have an higher quality over the last years and will be a great base for our Frederik Chardonnay Spumante and our DOC Venezia Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. As for Cabernet and Merlot, this year we witnessed an increase of the production per hectare with solid and perfumed bunches. Consequently, the grapes for our Organic wines with No Added Sulfites are very good, compact and moreover healthy.
The Raboso vine variety was the last grape that we harvested in our vineyard, exclusively by hand. This year harvested it beginning October 15th. Raboso is a powerful grape, whose leaves are pruned in order to facilitate the bunch maturation and the store of polyphenolic antioxidants during the flowering and ripening.
Keeping up with the increasing Demand for Pizzolato Italian Organic Wine
During the 2017 harvest, we added 7 new steel tanks of 1500 hl capacity, with a temperature-controlled system. We are now able to stock 44000 hl. In this way, we can preserve a constant quality for the whole year, especially for the white wines, almost 85% of our production.
With a consistent upward trend in sales, it is very important for us to ensure a constant supply of raw material. We have increased the hectares of our property from 68 to 72 ha (178 acres) total and we now work together with 24 suppliers of organic certified grapes.