Grapes picked: 434 million kilograms
he Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja awarded an official rating of ‘Good’ to the 2014 vintage, with more quantity and better quality than last year. After a growing cycle with very favourable weather, Riojan vineyards showed excellent canopy development and plant health at the end of the ripening stage. This pointed to a great harvest in terms of both quality and quantity but adverse weather during the harvest only allowed forecasts to be partially fulfilled.
Largely, it can be said that these expectations have been met, and this is reflected in the ‘GOOD’ rating, the result of wide heterogeneity in the wines. Nonetheless, there is a significant percentage of top quality wines which is sufficient to meet the requirements of aged wine categories. Particularly notable is the excellent quality of this vintage’s rosés and whites, and aspect on which all 140 members of the Control Board Tasting Panel unanimously concur.
On 21 October, the Control Board announced the official end of a harvest that had begun on 30 August in the eastern-most town of the Wine Region, Alfaro. The harvest had gradually accelerated until the first week of October, which is usually the most intensive harvesting period in Rioja. During this period, more than 300 million kg of grapes arrived at the crush pads in excellent condition. The last third of the harvest was affected by bad weather. This required Rioja growers to once again show how well prepared they are to face such situations and get the best out of each plot through selective harvesting. Adverse effects were minimised in most vineyards which had received appropriate treatment —cluster thinning, leaf plucking, etc.
Total grape production surface area in the region for 2014 was 61.645 hectares, two hundred less than the previous vintage. Of these, 57.761 hectares are planted with red grape varieties —which produced 398 million kg— and 3.884 hectares with white grape varieties— whose production amounted to 36 million kg. This volume is in line with the current potential of the D.O.Ca. Rioja, as determined by planted surface area and the maximum yield per hectare allowed this year.