The harvest is starting very soon and we are expecting our first grapes in the next 4 or 5 days. The weather, however, has been unpredictable this year. For the first time in a decade we had rain in June, followed by a dry and hot July — now the complete opposite is true as days have been cloudy and nights have been cool and foggy.
Rain in summer, good or bad?
All the above unusual phenomena influence the quality of our grapes. The late rain in June might have satisfied our vines thirst but, it introduced a rather troublesome side effect. When the weather is hot and the vines are still wet during the night – due to rain or humidity — this makes it easier for fungi diseases like downy mildew to develop quickly.
This year, several vineyards across Cyprus have fallen victim to downy mildew. This disease attacks leaves and causes them to fall earlier. As a result, yields and berry sugar are reduced. In addition, the lack of leaves reduces the shade that protects grapes from sunburns. Fortunately, only a few of our vineyards were affected heavily, the rest had little or no damage at all.
How does the weather affect the ripening process?
As previously stated, the extreme heat wave we encountered in July sped up the ripening process and tricked us into believing that the harvest would commence much earlier than usual.
This all changed just a week ago when we began seeing morning fog and experiencing cooler nighttime temperatures. As such, the ripening process suddenly slowed down in most of the vineyards. If the temperatures continue like this then the harvest will begin a few days later than expected.
First grape variety to harvest
For Fikardos Winery, the first grape to harvest is always Chardonnay. In general, all non-indigenous varieties in Cyprus always ripen earlier compared to the indigenous ones. The majority of the non-indigenous varieties are grown in cooler climates, as such they are not accustomed to the extremely hot Cypriot weather. After Chardonnay is harvested, Semillon, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon will follow shortly. At the moment we are constantly monitoring the vineyards and checking the grapes maturity levels.
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