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Santa Rita harvest reveals yields down, quality up

Published:  23 April, 2019

Santa Rita’s 2019 harvest has produced lower yields than normal but higher quality grapes, according to a report from the South American producer.

“We are projecting a reduction of around 10% in total yields,” said Eduardo Alemparte, director of viticulture and oenology at Santa Rita, which has estates in both Chile and Argentina.

In Chile, the yields of Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca and Merlot from the Pumanque vineyard are particularly down this year.

“The red varieties, although down in yields, have shown great quality,” Alemparte said.

Yields in the northerly Limarí Valley vineyards were slightly higher than last year, however, with the quality of grapes promising an excellent vintage. “These could well be the best Chardonnays we have ever made from there,” said Sebastián Labbé, winemaker, Santa Rita.

In Mendoza, the winery is reporting a later harvest than usual, with white grapes in particular benefitting from a dry February and March. While average temperatures have been normal, day temperatures have reached 32º centigrade far more frequently than in previous years.

“For the third year in a row we are looking at a vintage of excellent quality, concentration and freshness,” said winemaker Marcos Fernandez. “The late January and early February heatwaves have boosted the tropical aromas of our Sauvignon Blanc. In the reds, there is a good concentration of colour and volume in the mouth.”

The harvest across all vineyards is around 80% complete. Grape picking is projected to finish in the first week of May.

Santa Rita’s Argentine winery Doña Paula has recently been certified as a sustainable producer, having passed its audit for the Bodegas de Argentina Sustainability Protocol 3.0.