Yields were down but generally quality is good
The winter of 1998/9 provided plentiful rainfall and the vines budded early and well. However, a frost on the 16th April hit lower vineyards in the Rioja Alta and Baja very hard and although the second flowering was very encouraging only older, healthier vines fought back to full production levels. Rioja Alavesa survived much better because of its higher altitude. The summer was good and the grapes ripened well, although there was some small occurrence of Botrytis amongst Viura after intermittent rain. Picking started on the 15th September in showery weather which meant sporadic forays into the vineyard.
The harvest was completed during the last week in October. Most of the top bodegas reported a better year than the Consejo Regulador (rating it 4) and the best wines are likely to be Reservas.