Forecasts 2023: one of the most challenging harvests is expected
2 August 2023
Palermo, August 2nd 2023- The Sicilian harvest, the longest in Italy, lasts over one hundred days, it will be starting ten days later than the 2022 vintage. Despite the extreme weather – from heavy rains in May and June to extreme heat in July -fires and downy mildew on the vine, the health and quality of the grapes in Sicily will not be compromised. Agronomists initially estimated about -40% less production than last year but since the temperature dropped down, it could be more contained.
Harvest kicks off in the western Sicily with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, followed by the native vines. Etna will mark the end of the Sicilian harvest at the end of October.
What makes the Sicilian harvest unique – comments Mariangela Cambria, president of Assovini Sicilia – is the variety of Sicilian wine-growing areas. Each territory has unique climatic conditions and soils that turn into an extraordinary diversity and variety of Sicilian wine production. It is still difficult and premature to make accurate estimates about the quantity and quality. Sicilian wine growers know how to manage the effect of climate change, focusing on quality and not quantity – concludes Mariangela Cambria, thanks to increasingly sustainable agriculture and agronomic techniques.
Seasonal trend for the 2023 vintage and harvest forecasts
Right now, the quality of the grapes is excellent, since we managed the powdery mildew but due to the heat in the past weeks, we lost about 40% of the upcoming production. Since the temperatures dropped down, the unburned grapes are starting to regain strength so the overall drop could be lower. We are satisfied with how we managed the downy mildew issue, thanks to the help of weather huts that have the ability to electronically indicate the chance of the disease, avoiding irreparable damage – comments Filippo Buttafuoco, viticultural technician at Cantine Settesoli.
At Regaleali wine-growing area, in the province of Palermo, the months of March and April, which tend to be dry and cold, turned into a general delay of about 10 days.
Even if the following months were rainy, we managed the downy mildew and its consequences and the vines released some stress- commented Lorenza Scianna and Laura Orsi, oenologists of Tasca d’Almerita.
Currently the vineyards are healthy with a good ripening of the grapes. The harvest will start with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. At Sallier estate, in Camporeale, the production average should be the same and the grape are preserving aromas and freshness.
In the little island of Mozia, the grapes are healthy and crunchy, conclude Lorenza Scianna and Laura Orsi.
Etna and North East
There are still a few months left before the harvest starts on Etna where low temperatures and continuous rains were recorded until the end of June, followed by the extreme heat of the end of July.
Thanks to the highly draining volcanic sands, the significant altitudes and constant breeze, there was no presence of downy mildew and, despite the high temperature peaks, the plants were resilient – comments Maria Carella, oenologist at Cantine Nicosia, located on the south-east slope of Trecastagni, Zafferana and Santa Venerina.
On the northern slope of Etna, Patricia Toth, Planeta’s oenologist, confirms that downy mildew is under control thanks to the beginning of the heat and high temperatures. At 900 meters, we have wonderful grapes thanks to the breeze and also to the nature of the soils.
At Capo Milazzo, in northern-east part of the island, the winds did not become a challenge this year– concludes Patricia Toth.
Beside the recent big wave of heat, we had heavy rains in May and June, important for the flowering of our grapes-comments Arianna Occhipinti. The start of downy mildew may impact our upcoming production for about 30-35%; the sulfur and copper treatments (the only treatments we carry out in the vineyard) in higher concentrations, were not enough to contain the problem. The 2023 harvest will be lower in quantity but higher in quality- concludes Occhipinti.
In Vittoria area- adds Patricia Toth – it is important to underline the nature of the soil. We are located on the slope with a pure sandy upper layer, overlooking the sea, above Marina di Acate, where the sand and the breeze controlled the humidity. We expect a good harvest for both Nero d’Avola and Frappato.