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The silver lining in Chile’s 2014 harvest

While the year certainly started on a hard note for Chile with an unexpected and ferocious frost across many of the wine regions, nine months later the wine that has made its way into the wineries is looking promising for a high quality vintage.

The difficult start to the vintage was because of a widespread couple days of frost in mid-September which reduced production by between 10 and 70% (depending on variety, vineyard and winery). It can be said that every cloud has a silver lining though, as – according to many winemakers – these low yielding vines produced more concentrated grapes that benefited from a steady ripening season.

“This year has been very good in terms of quality, as some of the varieties already had a reduction in yields because of the spring frosts,” Julio Bastias, winemaker at Matetic in San Antonio and Casablanca said. “Because of this we’ve had very good concentration and complexity in the wines.”

Most of Chile was favoured with good climatic conditions for a long and dry ripening season. “Although volumes are lower than historically, I think that because we are facing a smaller crop and enjoying outstanding climate, we will have an excellent quality in our 2014 wines,” said owner and winemaker Aurelio Montes from Montes winery with vineyards all across the country.

While the lack of rain has been good news for ripening, some producers – especially in the north – have their fingers crossed this winter for a good snowfall in the Andes so that water resources are replenished for next year. “Climate conditions here in Elqui were very nice as usual,” commented Giorgio Flessati, Head Winemaker at Viña Mayu. “The production is a bit lower than 2013 vintage but we didn’t suffer frost effects, only smaller bunches. The only big worry that we have is the water: we had just two days with a bit of rain in the last 18 months.”

While the sun provided a silver lining for Chile’s 2014 harvest bringing good, high quality results over the long Summer and ripening season, as winter approaches it is now the time of year to start singing: “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

By Amanda Barnes

Photos from Concha y Toro and Errazuriz Wines from #ChileHarvest2014 twitter campaign. See more harvest pictures from 2014 on the twitter feed or here.

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