Early, like 2020, Year I of the pandemic era, uneven between North and South due to the characteristic microclimates and, of course, with a mask and safety distance. This is how the vintage 2021 in Tenerife. From the insular council of Agriculture they estimate that the drought that hits the island In the last six years, with the record of up to 52% less rainfall, the vigor of the plant is beginning to be noticed, especially in those of dry land. This produces a lower development of the shoots, important for the following harvests. The incidence is especially noticeable in the south.
Both the fall and winter of 2020 were not bad in terms of rainfall, as were the months of last spring. But these weather conditions, especially humidity, which are optimal for the vineyard to offer good production, have also caused the appearance of mildew (a disease caused by a fungus). From April to last June in the regions of Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de La Orotava and Ycoden-Daute (the northern strip), the alerts from Agrocabildo (a specialized public company) have registered a high risk. On the southern slope, the risk, on the other hand, has been medium-low.
This factor is key to understanding the axis change in production. If the previous year the largest amount corresponded to Denominations of Origin (DO) from the north this time the largest harvest is expected in the south. As is customary in recent years, the harvest has begun in certain areas of the Island since the end of July. These are characteristic estates that, due to their altitude, orientation and production system, can already cope with the collection to obtain high-quality wines. The first harvests of the fruit have corresponded to the Denominations of Origin Islas Canarias and Ycoden-Daute-Isora. Among the earliest in the northern hemisphere. On Monday, July 26, this year’s campaign began at Finca San Juan Degollado, in Garachico. The land is located 160 meters above sea level and consists of terraces built with volcanic rock, which help to overcome the adverse difficulties of the orography. The Marmajuelo and Verdello varieties produce the first musts of the 2021 harvest.
Summer is being atypical in some areas where in moments of grape ripening there are precipitations and low temperatures for the time. These conditions affect proper ripening and lead to fungal (fungal) attacks at such vital times. This, added to the announced high temperatures that could affect the final production very significantly.
Javier Parrilla, Minister of Agriculture, values: «We have to wait for the possible effects of a peculiar and atypical summer. In the midlands there has been overcasting and humidity levels that are inappropriate for the time, and that poses problems for maturation. He adds: “Now the best is dryness and sun, but a sudden rise in temperature like the one advertised can burn the grapes.” The counselor explains that this year “the main disease that has affected is the mildew above the oldio (ash) or botrytis, more common”. His summary is that «the forecasts in Güímar, Abona and even Daute are good and the risk is that sudden rise in temperatures. The biggest problem is in Tacoronte-Acentejo, La Orotava and Ycoden due to the mildew effect ». Parrilla explains: «I think the loss will exceed 10% compared to last year. I say this based on Agrocabildo’s predictive models since April or May “The counselor hopes that” the slight decrease will not affect wine production. ”
From the DO
The forecast of the representatives of the different Denominations of Origin of Tenerife coincides with that of the director. Thus, Manuel Marrero, from the Cumbres de Abona Winery, points out: «We expect a harvest between 15% and 20% more than in 2020. Thanks to Filomena who saved the harvest with her winter rains. We hope to go from 400,000 kilos last year to about 420,000. We have already started and we have about 25,000 collected. But, I insist a lot on this idea, what we lack is water ». For his part, Manuel Rodríguez, manager of the DO Abona, assesses: «We started last week and it is becoming more and more common to do it in the middle of August and not in September as tradition marks. We expect a slightly better harvest than last year, among the worst in the historical series. The grapes did not set due to lack of water and we trust the weight of the bunches with the fruit in that state. This year it has rained more in autumn and spring. I think it will go better but without crazy things. We have not had as many problems as in the north with the out-of-season rains and diseases. Only the presence of specimens of African lobster, the cigar, in high areas of Vilaflor and Granadilla, but it was quickly controlled ». For his part, Juan Jesús Méndez, technical director of Bodegas Viñátigo, from Ycoden-Daute-Isora, and secretary of the Canary Islands DO, explains: «We have already started and the harvest is better than last year. The exception is Tacoronte-Acentejo due to the presence above all of the mildew fungus, scorching it as we call it, and to a lesser extent botrytis, rotting ». He adds: “The constant presence of the trade winds and the excessive humidity has favored the fungi.” Expect “20% or 25% more kilos than last year.” As for the Do Islas Canarias, he values: “The outlook for the Tenerife subsector is 10% or 15% more than in 2020”. He details: “The rainfall has been higher than previous years, there was no drought and that has allowed us to approach more normalized harvest dates”. A note: “The acidity and sugar parameters of the grape are quite good”. From the La Orotava Valley, Agustín García Farrais, winemaker and manager of Bodegas Tajinaste, sums up: “The mildew has affected us and we expect between 10% and 15% less than last year in quantity while maintaining quality.” He underlines: «We started on Friday (yesterday) with the first harvest of La Orotava. At Finca Poggio, 230 meters high and with the Marmajuelo variety ». Finally, Mary Paz Gil, manager of Tacoronte-Acentejo claims to be “looking at the sky.” He values that in June, July and so far in August the powerful trade wind “has settled in the region and the heat has been conspicuous by its absence.” He emphasizes that «grapes need cold in winter, rain in February and heat in summer. A temperature not excessive because then it burns ». He says it because of the announced heat wave. He points out: “The harvest was coming in very well and promised between 10% and 15% more, but now it may be just the other way around, it is a percentage decrease over last year.” He summarizes: «2019 was a bad year, the worst harvest in quantity, and 2020, good in quality. Now we hope to start in early September and harvest the grapes in good sanitary conditions. ‘
The ‘mildew’ disease
Agrocabildo has prepared a detailed report on the action of vine mildew (Plasmopara viticola) in Tenerife and its influence on the 2021 harvest. The Technical Service for Agriculture and Rural Development has about 25 weather stations in the main vine growing areas and discloses weekly disease risks. Low, medium and high for each of the seven wine-growing regions. The climatic conditions in the campaign have been favorable to the appearance of mildew in vineyards in the northern zone. Since the end of April, May and the beginning of June, phytosanitary notices with high risk have been established in Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de La Orotava and Ycoden-Daute. The fungus is characterized by spots on the leaves and can also affect the stems. It is still too early to draw conclusions on final productions, but Minister Parrilla hopes that “the meteorological situation will allow us to reach good levels of quantity and quality.”
At Cumbres de Abona (Arico, DO Abona), with Manuel Marrero at the helm, thousands of kilos of grapes entered yesterday. In the photos, the process with the collection of the grapes on the farm, the transport and the treatment in the winery.
Marked by the pandemic
The 2020 harvest had an advance in maturation of about fifteen days to a month depending on the areas. It was a year of early grape harvesting with a high quality and good quantity production. The health of the harvest was positive because the weather conditions allowed diseases such as powdery mildew (ash) to not proliferate, given the good proportion in spring and summer of sunny days and low humidity. The island councilor, Javier Parrilla, highlights the scientific work of the Cabildo agronomists: «Domingo Ríos, Head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Service, is one of the greatest authorities in the knowledge of potatoes and pome fruit trees, besides in horticulture ». For his part, «Santi Perera is the specialist agent in pests; he spends the day researching new agroecological lines with not very aggressive products, with traps, pheromones and bugs as they say. Some machines.