After a winter without rain, we approached the harvest concerned about the scarcity of water. Our grapes are dry-farmed and we depend on the annual rainfall. Fortunately, spring was rainy just when the vines needed it most for a good budbreak. The plants grew quickly but there was little more water, as June, July, August and September were the hottest in living memory. Even in October there were unusually high temperatures for the time of year.
The result was that the bunches did not grow very much and the berries remained small due to lack of water at the cell multiplication stages, which is when their size is determined. The problems of high temperatures and drought led to a decrease in the estate’s usual production.
At the end of August the rain returned, so before they arrived we brought in the white varieties, leaving the red ones to continue their ripening. The precipitation helped us to relieve our vineyards of the extreme heat, so they could continue completing their natural cycle. Once again, a challenging climate forces us to pay a great deal of attention to the environment around us.
These weather conditions and the changes we are making in vine-growing culture have produced grapes in perfect health, and we can cease to use plant health products in our vineyards at a very early stage because there is no risk of disease. The 2022 vintage is very similar to the 2017 – the first one we started working on at Casa lo Alto, so we had the experience learned from that year and could make the most appropriate decisions in the vineyard. The work we do the vineyard, such as shading the bunches, and improvements in the harvest and in wine-making will, in my opinion, give one of the best vintages we have produced. Healthy fruit, harvested without over-ripeness, and with the help of the interconnected biodiversity that surrounds our vineyards, will produce Mediterranean wines with plenty of freshness and complexity.
The harvest began in mid-August and went on until the end of September, between 7 and 15 days ahead of the normal dates for the area. After five years of making separate wines and carrying out soil studies, in 2023 there may be new releases based on wines from single parcels, further defining and refining the character of Casa lo Alto.