GLOBAL HARVEST REPORT 2016

In general 2016 was a challenging year. El Niño, wildfires, hail or frost gave hard time to all winemakers around the world. This vintage is heterogeneous, but there are some promising wines to follow.

Harvest report 2016

USA

Harvests 2016 in USA were earlier than expected. Some winter and spring rains helped to manage the drought. In September, the ripening was lengthened with the hot and cool temperature swings.

In general, 2016 is a good to exquisite vintage. Reds are colorful (especially for Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara) and fruit-intensive. Whites are intense, sometimes crispy in Napa Valley (for Sauvignon and Chardonnay) but well-balanced.

Yields seem to be at or slightly above average, with some county below average like Napa, Santa Barbara or Southern California and Temecula.

CHILE

2016 was also a challenging weather conditions for Chile, in particular for high yield Cabernet. El Niño caused heavy rains which affected yields to be down by 21%.

The quality of Cabernet will be a little less but in Secano dry-farmed wines will be stellar.

Garnacha has to be followed, wines are deep and flavorful. Cabernet Franc from Maule are lighter and floral this year. In Limari wines are promising. Pinot noir from Leyda Valley (sub region of San Antonio Valley), Syrah’s and Chardonnay’s should show freshness and beautiful acidity, if they were picked before the rain.

ARGENTINA

2016 was unusual and challenging for Mendoza, due to El Niño consequences. A fresh, long and rainy spring, followed by a cool summer. Wines are low in alcohol 12% instead of 13-15% and high in natural acidity.

Yields drop down by 35% in general. Fortunately San Juan and Patagonia lesser suffered from El Niño effect, and were a major grape source for Mendoza.

Malbec from Uco Valley and North of Central Valley will give wines well-structured with a good ageing potential. Torrontes wines from Salta, Sauvignon from Rio Negro or reds wines from San Juan should be better than in Mendoza.

SOUTH AFRICA

This year’s yield will be the smallest year since 2011 due to heatwaves from October to January and water shortages. According to Vinpro (the representative organization of South African Wine producers and cellars), crop is 6,7% down than last year’s crop. Swartland, Stellenboch and Paarl were the most touched areas with drought and wildfires.

The quality seems good, even if berries were smaller. Fortunately heat led to flavor and color concentration.

In Stellenboch, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Shiraz are promising, like some Chenin Blanc in Klein Karoo and Bredekloof or Chardonnay, Colombar from Olifants rivers or Paarl.

AUSTRALIA

Water was the major issues in Adelaide hills, and drought also in Coonawarra. Grape harvest were slightly early especially in Clare Valley.

Apart from Tasmania which had a challenging year due to bushfires and regular rain, 2016 in Australia seems to be good to excellent, with volume above average (+5%).

There is an enthusiasm for Australia’s fine wines from USA and China, and also towards Sauvignon blanc due to heat.

NEW ZEALAND

2016 was challenging, with El Niño leading to an unsettled spring and warm drought-like conditions in some regions, the 2016 harvest seems promising for New Zealand overall.

The 2016 harvest is up 34% on the small 2015 crop, but is still below the record breaking 2014 vintage.

The star’s region for harvest 2016 will be Martinborough, with almost perfect growing condition. For Central Otago, this year was more challenging because of a cool and windy spring.

Chardonnay of Hawke’s bay deserves to be watched also.

FRANCE

It’s been a turbulent year of weather in France: April frost destroyed in Champagne 14% of the vineyard, sometimes 80% in Mennetou-Salon in Loire Valley, Mildew in Alsace or hailstorms in Chablis Burgundy. Winemarkers had to be attentive and selective.

According to OIV, with 41.9 million hectoliters, French production in 2016 is nevertheless among the lowest crops in the last 30 years and close to that of 2012.

Comments on Bordeaux, forecast a 2016 vintage outstanding! Rhone Valley and Provence were two areas without damages, and their wines are promising.

ITALY

Italy is set to confirm its leadership position as the top wine producer in the world, with 48,5 millions of Hectoliters ahead of France and Spain.

In northwestern Italy they’ve experienced some heavy rain and some bad hailstorms in Barolo country, but the damage to vineyards was limited and will more likely result in smaller yields than in a mediocre vintage. The summer months have been very good to Barolo growers.

Wines from Tuscany (Axel Heinz likens this year to 2006 and 2008, and was pleased with Cabernet Franc’s quality), Emila-Romagna, Lombardia among others, are expected to have a very good crop and to produce top wines this year, more aromatic and deeper in color. Vermentino from Liguria and Grechetto should be part of these top wines.

SPAIN

According to OIV appraisal, Spain should be the 3rd global wine producer this year, with 37,8 Millions of Hectoliters. In general this year, Spain produced less but with better quality.

The 2016 vintage has been marked by the extremely dry weather conditions in many regions around Spain. The main consequence was a longer development within good health for grapes.

The quality for Spain should be good, especially for Rioja, Rias Baixas y Ribera del Duero where wines seems to be really good. There is only Grenache in Navarra whose quality seems to be irregular.