The southern State of Rio Grande do Sul produces 90% of Brazilian wine. The harvest period there is one of the longest in the worlds, lasting over 3 months. Let’s cast a light on the 2020 vintage.
Every year, the harvest starts in December with the earlier varietals: Pinot noir, Chardonnay et Riesling itálico. They’ll make up the bulk of base wines for Brazilian sparkling wines, the lovely local “espumantes”.
In January, Pinot noir and Chardonnay for still wines are harvested. Merlot comes up early February; eventually, end of February and early March, Marselan, Cabernet and Tannat join the rest of the gang in the fermentation tanks.
A late harvest
The 2019-2020 Brazilian summer allowed for a late harvest. It was dry – rains were infrequent, sporadic and very local – and let the grapes ripen fully and reach a good balance between sugar and acidity. The average grape sugar rate improved notable, from 13°Babo in 2019 to 16°Babo in 2020 (from 14,5 to 17,8° Brix). “This is the best harvest of the last 20 years”, marvels Mauro Zanus, an agronomist for the Brazilian agronomic research institute Embrapa Uva e Vinho.
Lesser, but better
695 million kilos of grapes have been harvested this year in Rio Grande do Sul, -down 11% from 2019. The production decline is due to the coulure, phenomenon, where part of the vine flowers remain unfecundated, because of rains during flowering, between October and November. This will not dampen the joy of Brazilian winemakers, now caring for this highly qualitative harvest inside their wineries. How about we pour you a glass?
Renata for the Oenodia team
Main picture : mapadomundo.org