From grapes to wine, from the vine to the table, from the earth to the glass, from the hands of the winegrower to those of the consumer: this is the story of the journey that sees a single bunch of grapes become a great wine. And like any self-respecting great story, last year’s harvest reserved us a truly surprising ending.
Vinchio Vaglio’s 2022 early harvest
It had already been rumoured for days. Among the rows of vines, the increasingly excited voices of the winegrowers could be heard echoing, in the cellar everyone seemed to be looking first at the clock and then at the calendar, and even in the administration office the ferment was tangible. The bunches of grapes are already big and juicy, ‘this year we’ll celebrate August 15th while harvesting,’ were the words that leapt around the offices, bounced between the barrels, set the spirits in motion and rolled down the steep slopes of the Monferrato hills.
The year’s protagonist was certainly the long drought: in Vinchio, from January to August, rainfall was 333 mm instead of the seasonal average of 645 mm. This figure, together with the high temperatures, the summer heat waves, and the absence of temperature variation between day and night, are the result of the climatic changes that had a major influence on the harvest.
The first ripening tests, carried out as early as the beginning of August, had immediately shown how the heat of the growing season had caused unusual conditions in terms of the balance of grape ripening. Subsequent tests, together with weather forecasts that did not allow for the possibility of rainfall, led Vinchio Vaglio Winery to begin the 2022 harvest on August 17th.
Each plant has its own timing, and going along with it is a matter of sensitivity
The first grapes to be ready for harvest were the grapes for the ‘Alta Langa’ sparkling wine, on August 17th, while the last were those for the ‘Langhe Nebbiolo’, on September 27th. Expert gestures that have been repeated thousands of times: the hands grasping the bunches of grapes, the shears cutting cleanly, the grapes falling into the baskets, the earth sweating along with the winegrowers.
In between, the days were marked by constant monitoring. On August 23rd, with Barbera’s first ripening tests, it soon became clear the level was not homogeneous, but rather varied depending on the different production areas. Some precipitation in the following days gave everyone a breath of relief, resulting in September 7th as the starting date for the harvest of Barbera grapes, starting with our most important selections: Vigne Vecchie, Sei Vigne Insynthesis and Laudana. Even the oldest vines, which are over 100 years old and chat daily with the winegrowers, confirmed that the early harvest of 2022 is a truly unique event.
If the first musts were ready as early as August 20th, their tasting and subsequent fundamental technical-analytical feedback allowed Vinchio Vaglio to best decide on the final blends our fine wines will be obtained from.
For this reason, in order to preserve the characteristic aromatic mosaic of our Barberas, we opted to maintain the lowest possible temperatures during fermentation.
The result of the 2022 grape harvest: a viticultural miracle!
Conditions were adverse and spirits uncertain: we won’t deny it, we expected a harvest that would lead to wines of lower quantity and quality. Instead, the vine, which is a marvellous plant, managed to surprise us again this time!
And so we can only give heartfelt thanks to the 35 mm of water that fell at the end of August, the 45 mm of rain in September, the 365 days of work of the winegrowers as well as the oenologists and technicians: the 2022 vintage is the excellent result of everyone’s work.
It is no coincidence that Marco Protopapa, Piedmont Region’s Agriculture Councillor, spoke of a ‘viticultural miracle‘, inviting everyone ‘to deepen their knowledge of the physiological mechanisms of vine adaptation to water and thermal stresses’. That the vine is an extraordinary plant, capable of great demonstrations of resilience, we knew, but perhaps no one expected a result of this magnitude, as emerged also from the analysis carried out by Vignaioli Piemontesi and the Piedmont Region.
Harvest 2022: what will the bottles of Vinchio Vaglio have in store for us?
The 2022 grape harvest was one of the most difficult and uncertain in recent years, yet despite this, at Vinchio and Vaglio we do have one certainty, and that is that the wines will certainly be of great quality!
The first wines are in fact already ready, and some are even already available at our sales point, and we are proud of how much the shared effort of all our members, agronomists, oenologists and all the employees of Vinchio Vaglio succeeded in producing!
Marco Giordano, General Manager Vinchio Vaglio