A good vintage but some wines were rather light
The winter of 1989/90 was warm and possibly the driest of the century, with no frost even in January and February. At the beginning of March the vineyard was very forward in its development but then the frost finally struck – worst of all in Rioja Alta. April was cold and wet and May was warm and wet, although rainfall was about average throughout. There were localised but heavy hailstorms on the 17th and 18th April in all three sub-regions, destroying what would have become an estimated 6 million kg of grapes (about 3% of the crop). The remaining grapes set in good conditions in the first (Rioja Baja) and second (Ala and Alavesa) weeks of June. The summer was hot and dry but afflicted by verylocalized hailstorms, although those few areas afflicted lost up to 30% of their crop as a result. The vintage started very early, on 3 September, and finished on 20 October.
Rioja Alavesa escaped the worst of the hail and frost.
Martínez Bujanda, Olarra and Ondarre reported a significantly better harvest, whilst Contino and Montecillo suffered worse. However, 5% of the wine went into Gran Reservas, although most are probably at or past their peak now.