It’s that time of year when all the work in the vineyards through the summer reaches fruition. The Italian 2020 harvest is underway in many regions, with early ripening varieties already in the winery and the later ripening varieties nearly ready to be picked.
Much of Friuli’s grapes have now been harvested. Serena Fedel of Jermann reported, ‘After having had a relatively warm but quite dry first part of the year, from May to July it rained more than usual and temperatures were a bit below the average. Nonetheless, thanks to careful and well-organised work carried out in vineyards, vines could pass all their development stages in a proper way. August was quite warm but some intense rainfalls provided the vineyards with good water reserves so that the grapes could ripen gradually.
‘Harvest started on 22 August with Pinot Grigio and finished on 22 September with Pignolo. The results are in line with our expectations: the vintage 2020 showed a yield below the average but with high quality, so we are satisfied.’
In Piedmont Federica Boffa of Pio Cesare says of the estate’s Nebbiolo, ‘The sugar levels are excellent, and the components of physiological ripeness are lining up nicely. We should begin harvesting in the first days of October, a bit earlier than in recent seasons.’
Giacomo Conterno of Aldo Conterno notes that, ‘we had a very nice August and September. I have already started to pick the Barbera and the quality is very nice. The health of the grapes is perfect and the big temperature shift between day and night will develop great aromas for the Nebbiolo. 2020 is looking very promising and I think it will be a fantastic harvest.’
In Tuscany, Sangiovese has mostly been picked. In Montalcino, Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi of Tenuta Luce – speaking at the end of September – explains, ‘It is important to be ready to pick at just the right moment. We started harvesting our Sangiovese on 18 September, but we will wait a few more days for the clusters dedicated to the cru of Luce Brunello. We are very positive: the fruit is healthy and shows great aromatic potential. We fully believe that 2020 will be a beautiful vintage for our Brunello’.
In the coastal Maremma, Ettore Rizzi, owner and production manager at Fattoria Le Pupille began picking the estate’s Sangiovese slightly earlier. ‘The temperatures in August were certainly high but we also had cool nights and consistent breezes. We began picking a bit early and exercised rigorous quality-selection in the vineyard. That paid off, with beautiful, crisp fruit and good phenolic ripeness; very promising conditions for both our Morellino di Scansano and for our well-known cru, Poggio Valente.’
In Bolgheri, at the northern end of the Maremma, the Merlot destined for Masseto has also been picked. ‘2020 is a great example of the now-unpredictable nature of our weather,’ notes Axel Heinz, director of Masseto. ‘We have had to deal with challenges on various fronts: a spell of high heat and periods of cooler temperatures and rain. The Merlot is already in the cellar since we finished picking that variety on 15 September.’
Davide Acerra of the Consorzio di Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo explains that, ‘The harvest is proceeding well: the harvest of the whites has ended, except for a few small vineyards at high altitude, while that of Montepulciano began in the first week of October. The quality is great.’
In Sicily, Passopisciaro is still waiting to pick its Nerello Mascalese, which is located at altitude on Mount Etna. ‘If weather conditions continue this way, we’ll start picking towards the end of October,’ explains Vincenzo Lo Mauro, the estate’s director.
Tommasi’s enologist Giancarlo Tommasi sums up other areas of Italy neatly, the group owning estates in regions including Lombardy, Veneto, Tuscany, Puglia and Basilicata. ‘On 18 August we began the [Pinot Nero] harvest in the Oltrepò Pavese: a splendid day and splendid grapes! We also monitored on a daily basis the final stage of ripening of the Pinot Grigio at our Prunea estate in Vapolicella Classica, the harvest for which began on 26 August.
‘On the other hand, for the Vermentino at Poggio al Tufo [Tuscany] and for the Fiano at Surani [Puglia], the harvest started in the first week of September. After checking the state of ripeness of the fruit every day, we have been picking the grapes for our Lugana at the Le Fornaci Estate since 14 September.