The 2020 harvest will go down in history. It was the year we joined forces to fight a pandemic and this generation’s efforts will be remembered. In the wine industry, and specifically at Kranemann Wine Estates, the 2020 wine harvest will tell the story of the region – in this case of the Douro – an area that depends heavily on human intervention. 2020 showed us the resilience, tenacity and adaptability of all those involved when facing a global challenge.
The grapes arriving at the winery were of good quality. Tastings over the winter have revealed a huge potential for the 2020 harvest. Our terroir’s characteristics are ever present, but there is always an element of surprise. This time it was the Rabigato variety making its mark in an even more striking way - its freshness, its minerality - everything points to having a unique wine on our hands, or maybe even a single varietal wine. Tinta Barroca, a relatively unknown variety, or the symbolic and extraordinary concentration of the Touriga Franca are also worthy of note.
The climatic conditions last year were also similarly challenging. A rainy winter, though no more than excepted at that time of year, gave rise to a slightly less cold period than normally seen at Quinta do Convento, which is known to have very cold and severe winters.
The months of March and April were characterised by rainfall. Spring brought with it the inevitable concerns about plant health, especially critical in the case of some varieties, such as Tinta Roriz, leading us to intervene and prevent any severe cases of downy or powdery mildew. We even had snow in April. May was dry followed by two very hot months with peaks in temperatures.
August was also very hot, but with lower thermal ranges than seen in recent years. This had the effect of speeding up ripening which was very diversified. Harvest started on 26 August, much earlier than in recent years.
In September we had some rain, which despite the risk to the vines, actually helped ripen some of the later varieties. Although the harvest was much smaller (around 26% compared to the previous year), and despite the climatic surprises, the grapes that arrived at the winery showed huge potential, both as table and as fortified wines.
We’re now in the analysis and tasting phase. Our enthusiasm about the 2020 harvest continues - it will most definitely go down in history for a multitude of reasons!
Susete Melo (winemaker)