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Chile vintage 2019: Promising vintage but yield drops across Chile

Considered a very good vintage but temperature highs and water lows has impacted the yield...

Coming off of the back of what many consider the best vintage of the last decade, 2019 was always going to suffer in comparison.

Although winemakers consider 2019 a very good vintage in terms of quality, temperature spikes in the summer and a winter drought compounded to produce lower yields.

There are still no official statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture on the quantity of wine produced this year, although the National Winemakers’ Association is referring to conditions this year as a ‘megasequía’ (mega-drought) which has seen temperatures increase and rainfall lower steadily over the past decade. In its annual report the Association estimates on average between 10 and 20% lower yield on average in the major Central Valley regions.

‘After harvests such as the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and this year, I do not know what we mean to be normal – each harvest is different,’ Viña San Pedro winemaker Matias Cruzat, who makes wines across Chile, told Decanter.com

‘We can say that this year was warmer than previous years,’ adds Cruzat. ‘In the summer we saw peaks of very high temperatures… which did cause dehydration in some varieties. Broadly speaking red wines have very good colour with structure and volume.’

Although the maritime influence of coastal regions provided a buffer from the most extreme temperature peaks, protecting acidity and freshness in its white wines, the year’s lower rainfall caused a water deficit which hampered yields:.

‘In Casablanca there were lows of up to 30% less Sauvignon Blanc this year,’ Miguel Torres winemaker Eduardo Jordan told Decanter.com. ‘The coastal drylands further south were also heavily effected in yields – especially in red wines with up to a 30% decrease in yields.’

The decreased yields in the Secano Interior did, however, improve concentration.

‘Rainfall was 25% lower than the average over the last 10 years and our dry-farmed vineyards had 20% lower yield than normal,’ winemaker at Bouchon Family Wines Christian Supúlveda said.

‘The wines this year are more concentrated because the ration of pulp to skin increased. In general, 2019 is a good vintage with good ripeness, low PH levels and a good level of acidity.’

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