Spanish vineyards in danger from drought

A lack of rain in Spain could spell disaster for both grape and olive growers this year as soaring temperatures wreak havoc across vineyards and olive groves.

Rainfall is currently at less than half the historic average in Spain

As reported by The Telegraph, half of the territories in Spain have been put on a state of alert due to the drought, which has been gathering pace since last year.

Reservoirs across the country are currently standing at 56% – their lowest for this time of year since 1995, with rainfall at less than half the historic average. Farmers across Spain are calling it the worst year for agriculture in decades after the hottest April this century.

Winemakers are facing the double whammy of severe late spring frost damage coupled with scorching summer temperatures. According to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, the grape crop is predicted to be down by half in some regions.

“We are facing a complicated year, the prediction is that production will drop, but a lot depends on the second part of the year,” said José Joaquín Vizcaíno, the Agricultural Committee’s representative for the wine sector.

While yields are likely to be down, quality too could be affected if temperatures continue to soar, as the grapes will dry out and become over-ripe, leading to hot, unbalanced, high-alcohol wines.

Pablo Dominguez, a Tempranillo grower in the province of Zamora, has already lost up to 90% of the grapes on parts of his land due to the April frosts. “We are already in July and it doesn’t look like this is going to get better,” he told El Confidencial.

The spring frosts also wreaked havoc in Spain’s key wine region – Rioja.

“The frost damage was very bad in Rioja – Rioja Alta and Alavesa were worst hit. People have been speaking about damages to their vines of up to 50%,” Carlos Delage, export area manager of Cune told db.

“Those who will struggle most are the producers making entry-level wines. These were the worst frosts in Rioja since 1999 and we’re expecting grape prices to rise off the back of it,” he added.

Around 70-80% of vineyards in Bierzo, northwest Spain, were damaged by the frosts, while over 70% of vines in Galicia were affected.

One Response to “Spanish vineyards in danger from drought”

  1. Harry Hunt says:

    Whilst certain parts of Spain are experiencing a very difficult time, other areas are expecting potentially their best harvest in a few years. It is a very big country…

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